By; Mohammed Sa’id Berigari, Senior Scientist, PhD- Soil and Environmental Chemistry, MS- Natural Product Chemistry,BS-Agronomy- USA.
About one third of all cancers can be prevented if people adhered to healthier lifestyle including eating healthier foods. For better protection choose the following seven specific foods that have been proven to combat cancers:
1. Cabbage-:Cabbage is high in anticarcinogenic compounds known as glucosinolates. Fresh cabbage and when fermented as sauerkraut, also are good sources of the compound indole-3-carbinol that promotes elimination of carcinogens from human body.
A study of hundreds of Polish women in the US who ate four or more servings per week of raw, lightly cooked or fermented cabbages during adolescence were 72% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who had eaten only 1.5- serving per week. High consumption of cabbage during adulthood also had significant protection against breast cancer even when little cabbage was eaten at a young age. One recent study found that men who consumed at least three servings per week of broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables were 41% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate less than one serving per week.
Recommended: Three or more of 0.5- cup servings per week of cooked or raw cabbage.
Alternatives: Any vegetable of Crucifereae family such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.
Flaxseeds contain ligans, compounds that behave like weak form of estrogen. One study showed that women with high levels of enterolactone which is linked to a high intake of ligans had a 58% lower risk for breast cancer. Flaxseeds also are good source of omega-3-fatty acids that appear to inhibit colon cancer in both men and women.
Recommended: One to two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day. Sprinkle on cereals, yogurt, or soups.
Alternatives: Two to three servings per week of cold-water fish such as mackerel or salmon that will provide cancer fighting amounts of omega-3-fatty acids. For more ligans eat walnuts and use canola oil for cooking.
The white-button mushrooms found in supermarkets contain anticancer compounds. Researchers compared vegetable extracts in the laboratory found that an extract from white-button mushrooms was the most effective in blocking aromatase, an enzyme that promotes breast cancer. White-button mushrooms also seem to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Recommended: Three to four servings of 0.5-cup of mushrooms per week.
Alternatives: Wild mushrooms with a nuttier taste such as porcinis or chanterelles.
A laboratory study in Spain found two compounds: maslinic and oleanolic acids in olives that suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote the death of these cells(apoptosis). Other studies indicate that people who eat olives as part of the Mediterranean diet have lower rates of a variety of cancers including colon cancer.
Recommended: Eight green or black olives per day.
Alternatives: One to two tablespoons per day of extra virgin olive oil. Spray on salads or vegetables to enhance absorption of the healthy nutrients.
5. Onions-:Scientists compared the ten vegetables most often consumed in the US and onions ranked with the third-highest level of phenolic compounds which are considered among the most potent anticancer substances found in foods.
A study in Finland found that men who frequently ate onions, apples and other foods with high content of quercetin (a phenolic compound) were 60% less likely to develop lung cancer than men who ate smaller quantities of such healthy foods. Quercetin also appears to lower the risk for colon and liver cancers.
Recommended: Three servings of .50-cup onions per week cooked or raw. Red and yellow onions contain the most cancer preventing compounds.
Alternatives: Apples, capers, and green and black tea all of which are high in quercetin content. Garlic and onions belong to the same family Liliaceae that provide many of the same cancer fighting substances.
Pumpkin and all winter squash are very high in carotenoids including beta-carotene. A long term study in Japan of more than 57000 participants found that people who ate the most pumpkin had lower rates of breast, colorectal, gastric and lung cancers. There is also some evidence that pumpkin seeds can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Recommended: Three or more of 0.50 -cup servings per week of baked pumpkin like any winter squash.
Alternatives: Carrots, broccoli, and all winter squashes including acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash.
All the foods with their names ending in – erry such as blueberry, cherry, cranberry, and strawberry contain anti-inflammatory substances that reduce cell damage. Such cell damage could lead to cancer. Raspberries are higher in fiber than most berries and are excellent source of both ellagic acid and selenium Se that protect humans against a variety of cancers. Recent studies found that raspberry and its extract inhibits both liver and oral cancer cells. The responses in these studies were dose-dependent. The more raspberry extract consumed by the participants the greater was the effect.
Recommended: Two or three 1.5-cup servings per week of raspberries.
Alternatives: Cherries and cherry juice contain just about as much ellagic acid as raspberries. Frozen berries and cherries, which contain less water, provide higher concentrations of protective compounds than fresh berries.