Life on earth, especially for humans, requires that we consume a lot of food, so much food in fact that the average person will consume
between 60,000 and 100,000lbs in their lifetime! Most of that food should be healthy but some of it really isn’t and having the wrong
foods in our diet can lead us to all sorts of different health problems; from acid reflux disease to cancer.
Medically speaking, it’s cancer that poses one of the biggest health threats to our lives. That being said, I’d like to take a few moments to share with you three healthy foods that may aid in the
fight against cancer. Keep in mind that none of these foods are a magic pill or wonder drug, but consuming them over the course of your
life may help prevent or delay some types of cancer.
The Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits and are the richest in cancer fighting compounds. They’re so easy to work into any food that they can be added to anything, from pancakes and muffins to
smoothies and salads. Not only are they easy to eat but they’re also great tasting and good looking. And it’s actually the blue color of the berries that researchers believe gives them their cancer fighting properties. This blue color comes from poly-phenol pigments called “anthocyanins.” These pigments are highly potent anti-oxidants, and for those who don’t know what anti-oxidants are let me try and explain.
Anti-oxidants act like little magnets for “free radicals.” Free radicals, without getting too technical, are atoms that lack an electron and try to steal from other atoms in your body. The loss of
electrons is one of the major causes for oxidation which results in the additional aging of cells. Anti-oxidants prevent damage from free radicals because they search them out and donate an electron of their own, ending the need for a free radical to “steal” electrons from you.
While blueberries help fight cancer they can also help prevent urinary tract infections by blocking certain kinds of bacteria from adhering to your bladder cells. Not a bad win-win for such a small berry!
The Truth about Dark Leafy Greens
When it comes to leafy greens and fighting cancer, remember one thing: the darker, the better. This is because the dark green color means the plants are high in “carotenoids,” which (like the anthocyanins in blueberries) are an effective anti-oxidant. In addition to the autoxidizing benefits, dark leafy greens are also a great source of folate, fiber, and flavonoids, which are another form of anti-oxidants.
A few easy to add leafy greens are romaine lettuce, collard greens, Swiss chard, kale and spinach. Most of which are particularly good additions to any salad or sandwiches you enjoy. Because leafy greens are so versatile you can add them to almost any dish, or food you make. Throw a few leaves in everything and remember to order something with dark leafy greens next time you’re out to eat. This will ensure you get a lot of anti-oxidants and reduce your risk to the ever present free radicals!
The Good of Garlic
Garlic is famous for bad breath and repelling vampires. Although I’ve never quite understood whether it was the garlic that repelled the vampire, or the bad breath, I do know that eating garlic can help
prevent cancer because of what it contains; Allyl sulfur compounds, or ‘ASCs’.
It’s these ASC’s that are responsible for giving garlic its cancer preventing qualities. These compounds are thought to help prevent or slow tumor growth, which is great since cancer usually kills because a tumor gets too large. If you’d like to maximize garlic’s natural anti-cancer properties be sure to use only high quality garlic.
Peeling garlic can also help make it more effective because of a chemical reaction that takes place in the garlic during the peeling process. I’d suggest waiting a good fifteen or twenty minutes after peeling the garlic before you consume or cook it as this will allow the chemical reaction enough time to take place.
Cancer is like a vampire in that it sucks the life out of your normal, healthy cells due to unregulated cell growth. Treat cancer like the vampire it is and fight back with a healthy dose of garlic. Just remember to brush your teeth!
Whether you already eat a lot of blueberries, dark leafy greens, and garlic or you plan to start, I hope you understand a little more about
how they can help prevent and fight cancer. These three are just a small example of the power that food has over our bodies. If the old saying “you are what you eat” holds any truth then the first step in preventing disease would be to control what you put in your body in the first place. Lucky for us, the stuff that’s good for us also tastes good to us!