The Role of Antioxidants in the Fight Against Cancer

Photo credit: Øyvind Holmstad [CC BY-SA 3.0]

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants prevent a chemical process known as “oxidation,” which is a natural part of living and aging. Oxidation damages cells and can lead to diseases such as heart disease, brain issues, and cancer. Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grain cereals, and other foods. The antioxidants made by our body play an important role in finding and repairing damaged cells.

What is their role in fighting against cancer?

Cancer begins when a normal cell mutates, or changes, and is unable to repair itself. That damaged cell then multiplies and creates a tumor. Eating antioxidant-rich foods offers your body additional ‘ammunition’ in the form of nutrition that can be used to protect cells from damage as well as repairing damaged cells.

The best way to stay healthy and to fight disease, including cancer, is to make sure your diet includes foods that have a high level of antioxidants. This is not difficult to do! Dr. David Jockers DNM, DC, MS, a doctor of natural medicine, functional nutritionist and corrective care chiropractor compiled a list of 24 cancer-fighting foods. Here are the Top 10 from his list:

Top 10 Cancer Fighting Foods

  1. Green Tea:

Drink green tea daily for its powerful chemo preventive properties to reduce your risk of colon, breast, lung and even prostate cancer. Avoid steeping your green tea in boiling water, as the intense heat will destroy the tea’s natural health attributing compounds. Instead, bring water to a boil and allow it to cool a few minutes before brewing.

  1. Blackberries:

Buy organic berries and buy local when available. Add as a natural sweetener in smoothies, juices and add to your water with lemon for a healthy beverage.

  1. Raspberries:

Pop this nutrient-dense food into smoothies, yogurt parfaits, or snack on a handful for a healthy dessert.

  1. Blueberries:

Avoid heating blueberries or any other of the berries as heat degrades the anthocyanins reducing their antioxidant potential. Add blueberries to smoothies, snack for dessert or use in homemade sweet sauces like barbeque as a substitute for sugar.

  1. Lemons:

One of the best ways to alkalize your body and support natural detoxification processes is to juice lemon into your water and consume a glass immediately upon waking up.

  1. Onion:

Eat a variety of types of onions to receive all of the nutritional benefits. Top on chili, add to salads and slaws or create a rich bone broth based onion soup.

  1.  Kale:

For optimal absorption of its trace minerals and antioxidants, consume kale with a healthy fat source like grass fed butter, coconut oil or grass-fed cheese. The hard-to-digest fibers can create digestive disturbances, so avoid eating it raw. Consider juicing kale or adding it to your smoothies.

  1.  Green Leafy Vegetables:

Enjoy a variety of green leafy vegetables by purchasing foods in season at your local farmer’s market. Sauté turnip greens and swiss chard for a colorful side dish or add spinach to soups and stews. Add dark leafy greens to your juice and smoothies.

  1.  Turmeric:

Also known as golden milk, you can consume turmeric as a warm beverage in teas and broths. Add turmeric to intense flavor dishes like chili, stew, and use as a marinade in chicken and other meat dishes.

  1.  Artichokes:

Reap the full benefits of the bitter herb by juicing both the artichoke leaves and stem. Otherwise, eat steamed artichoke with lemon and olive oil or prepare in a hummus or dip.

One Response to The Role of Antioxidants in the Fight Against Cancer

  1. Mike R. says:

    I see you mentioned kale on the list. You are right, a lot of people have trouble digestion darker greens like kale. I have found the best and easiest way to eat it is to bake it. You put dried raw kale on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over the top, add some salt, then bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. You have a nice crispy snack or a great flavoring to add to other dishes.

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