“Super Foods” that May Help Fight Cancer and Strengthen the Immune System
There are certain foods considered “Super Foods” because they have excellent cancer-fighting abilities, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce or prevent inflammation in the body. Here is a list of some of the healthiest foods that you should eat:
- Apricots are loaded with Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radical damage to the body. It is recommended to eat apricots when they are almost completely ripened because it will contain more vitamin A.
- Avocados contain Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat which helps to lower cholesterol including your LDL; are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral which helps regulate blood pressure; and they contain 23% of your daily value of folate, a nutrient vital to heart health.
- Raspberries contain Ellagic acid, a natural phytonutrient useful in preventing damage to cell membranes and DNA, because it takes away oxidant potential of free radicals in the body. Raspberries also contain flavonoids, proven to fight bacteria and fungi. Metalloprotease enzymes are needed by the body to develop tissues. For people with cancer, metalloprotease enzymes are produced in excessive quantities that aid cancer cells in invading other body tissues. Raspberries have been shown to inhibit this production.
- Cantaloupe is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is very beneficial to mesothelioma patients because it has shown to benefit lung function.
- Cranberries According to a study published in the November 19, 2001 edition of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, cranberries have shown to contain more antioxidant phenols than 19 commonly eaten fruits. Antioxidants are very effective in helping the body fight off certain cancers. Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which can prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria such as E. coli associated with urinary tract infections.
- Tomatoes are well-known for their high lycopene content. Lycopene is an antioxidant which helps the body fight cancer cell formation. Prostate, cervical, colon, rectal, stomach, mouth, pharynx and esophageal cancers have been prevented with high levels of lycopene from tomatoes. Heating tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce actually increases the amount of lycopene and is beneficial to patients.
- Raisins can help patients dealing with common symptoms
of chemotherapy, such as constipation, because they are high in fiber. Raisins
can also help patients gain weight if they have a low appetite since they
are a healthy source of calories and contain nutrients such as selenium
Raisins contain potassium and magnesium, which are naturally produced antacids and aid the body in preventing boils, tumors and even cancer. The considerable amount of iron in raisins helps the body produce red blood cells which helps fight anemia. Raisins also contain phenolic phytonutrients, which are well-known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties to fight viral and bacterial infections.
- Figs have a high amount of fiber, which aid in digestion and prevent constipation. The high amount of fiber also prevents breast cancer because it helps the body cleanse itself of cancer-causing substances. Figs are also rich in potassium, which help to control blood sugar in the body. The high mucilage content in figs helps patients heal and protect a sore throat.
- Lemons and Limes contain flavonoid compounds that have anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. Flavonol glycosides in limes stop cell division in many cancer lines and are also touted for their antibiotic effects. Limes were successfully used in several villages in West Africa to stop the spread of cholera. Lemons and limes are also excellent sources of Vitamin C, a nutrient known to reduce damaging free radicals in the body.
- Onions Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs and asthma. In Chinese medicine, onions were used to treat angina, bacterial infections and breathing problems. Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms and an onion extract can be used to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients. The World Health Organization supports using onions for the treatment of poor appetite, a common side effect of cancer treatments.
- Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which elevates your basal metabolism and can prevent blood clotting and the spread of cancer.
- Garlic contains allyl sulfur, which has shown to prevent
cancer by slowing or preventing the growth of cancer tumor cells. To retain
some of garlic's health benefits, it is suggested to wait 15 minutes
after peeling before cooking to allow the enzymatic reaction to occur.
Garlic is known to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal abilities. It is effective at slowing the growth of recurrent yeast infections and against intestinal parasites. Garlic should be considered a supplement to antibiotics in fighting infections and should not replace them, but assists in stimulating T-cells to fight infection.
- Artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, and the trace mineral, chromium. They are also a good source of vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, and potassium. They provide relief for Irritable Bowel symptoms and have been shown to reduce cholesterol, including LDL cholesterol levels.
- Ginger is a powerful herb with many healing properties. It has proven to relieve morning sickness, heartburn and nausea, symptoms that are very common for mesothelioma patients. It also reduces inflammation, which makes it a strong pain killer that has been used to relieve migraine pains. Ginger has the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells and ginger powder caused cell death in all ovarian cancer cells in a study conducted at the University of Michigan Cancer Center.
- Broccoli has several essential vitamins such as vitamin
A, C, K, and B12, folate, folic acid, calcium, potassium, chromium, magnesium,
iron and zinc. It also contains phytochemicals and antioxidants. Broccoli
also contains the compound, sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer, antimicrobial
and anti-diabetic properties. It is considered anti-diabetic because of
the significant amount of chromium, which helps to regulate the level of
blood sugar and insulin.
Because of the high amount of fiber in broccoli, it can provide relief for constipation and aids in digestive health. It is important not to overcook broccoli as doing so will deplete some of its vitamins and minerals. Broccoli retains its benefits best when steamed or eaten raw.
- Spinach is high in calcium and vitamin K, which have shown to improve bone health, and it is also rich in folic acid and iron. It contains Carotenoid which helps prevent prostate cancer. Spinach consumption benefits patients suffering from tumors, anemia, insomnia, constipation, high blood pressure, nerve exhaustion, neuritis, dyspepsia and bronchitis.
- Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage) Cruciferous vegetables such
as Bok Choy have proven to lower your risk of lung cancer. It is an excellent
source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, omega-3
fatty acids, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin A and protein.
Bok Choy is a cruciferous phytonutrient, which means that not only does it prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body, but it helps eliminate the free radicals because it signals to genes to produce enzymes that detoxify the body. Significant free radicals that are targeted in this process are carcinogens, which is why eating cruciferous vegetables is so beneficial to you during your cancer treatment.
- Squash is a fiber-rich food making it very useful in eliminating cancer-causing toxins from the body. Squash contains folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene which protect cells in the body from chemicals that can lead to cancer. Beta-carotene and vitamin-C are antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties which are helpful when suffering from inflammatory conditions such as asthma or arthritis.
- Watercress contains a significant amount of iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin A and C. Since watercress is such an excellent source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, it is often used as a diuretic, an expectorant and a digestive aid. Watercress has been shown to defend against lung cancer and it appears to have cancer-suppressing properties. It can prevent damage to DNA that causes cancer.
- Quinoa can be found in the rice aisle of your grocery store and has a delicious nutty flavor. It also has twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates and a dose of healthy fats. It actually has all nine of the amino acids normally eaten in meat protein. Because of this grain's high fiber content, it helps to protect against colon cancer. It also provides 27% of the daily value of iron for women and 40% of the daily value for men. This helps with symptoms of fatigue, a common complaint of mesothelioma patients.
- Crab is rich in selenium, an antioxidant which cancels out the carcinogenic effects of cadmium, mercury and arsenic, which can cause tumors. Lysate, extracted from the blue blood of the horse-shoe crab is used to fight cancer.
- Mushrooms are rich in selenium, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin E. When selenium and vitamin E are combined, they help protect the body's cells from free radicals. Mushrooms contain substances that inhibit the activity of aromatase (an enzyme involved in estrogen production) which reduces the risk of developing certain cancers. An extract from white button mushrooms can decrease cell proliferation and tumor size. Shiitake mushrooms are especially beneficial to cancer patients because they contain Lentinan, a beta-glucan that stimulates the immune system, fights infection and exhibits anti-tumor activity.