A proper diet is really important for those who live with cancer. Eating the right type and amount of foods can help you fight cancer cells and live a healthy life.
The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily and limit fatty or fried foods intake.
In addition, researchers noted that certain foods may be particularly useful in protecting the body against cancer. Here are some of the best foods that you can eat to fight cancer.
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Researchers have found that these compounds can fight free radicals, which damage the cells and tissues of your body. They may also help inhibit the growth of tumors and kill cancer cells.
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, contain D-limonene which can stimulate cancer-killing immune cells (lymphocytes) and help break down cancer-causing substances. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals.
Garlic contains a powerful plant phytonutrient called allicin that has been shown to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer. Diallyl sulfide, a natural compound found in garlic, is also known to inhibit tumor growth.
Several studies have found that eating more garlic could lead to decreased risks of stomach, prostate and colorectal cancers.
A study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that a greater intake of allium vegetables (more than 10 g per day vs. less than 2.2 g per day), specifically garlic and scallions, was related to an approximated 50 percent decline in the risk of prostate cancer .
In another study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, the consumption of Allium vegetables, especially garlic and onions, was linked to a reduced risk of stomach cancer .
In addition, a French study found that those who consumed more garlic, onion and cereal fibre had a significant reduction in breast cancer risk .
4. Green tea
Green tea contains certain antioxidants known as polyphenols (catechins), which may protect against cancer.
In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or prevent cancer growth in the breast, colon, lung, liver, esophageal and prostate cells . Other studies involving green tea have shown similar protective effects in tissues of the skin and digestive tract.
Several studies have found that carrot consumption was linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer.
One meta-analysis looked at the results of five studies and concluded that eating carrots may reduce the risk of gastric cancer by up to 26% .
Another study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with a 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer .
6. Black raspberries
All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients, but black raspberries, in particular, contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which can slow down the growth of cancer cells and stimulate cancer cells to self-destruct.
7. Brown rice
Brown rice is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a gluten free grain that contains important phytonutrients, like lignans, which are converted into cancer protective substances.
In addition to brown rice, oats and wheat are also good to consume for cancer patients.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that help protect against free radicals, which lead to cancerous growth in the body.
A number of studies have shown that high levels of lycopene could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
For example, a meta-analysis of 17 studies suggest that a higher intake of raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes and lycopene were all associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer .
Another study of 47,365 people found that frequent consumption of tomato products was linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer .
Mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant L-ergothioneine that can help the body fight cancer. The mushrooms also contain a compound called lentinan, which may help extend the survival rate of cancer patients when used with chemotherapy.
A study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that high mushroom intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women .
10. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene which can block the growth of cancerous cells by boosting the immune system and releasing a chemical called tumor necrosis factor.
It is also rich in polyphenols, a group of powerful antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables that can help prevent cell damage.