Eat Your Chemo

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Fight Cancer Off Naturally, Before It Starts

If you want to help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, the first step you may need to take – is one into your kitchen. Unfortunately, there isn't a silver bullet when it comes to curing cancer, but there is a silver lining. And it turns out we should listen to our mothers.

A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, found that eating vegetables and fruits helps lower your chances of getting head and neck, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

"All the studies on cancer and nutrition point to eating plant-based foods for their phytonutrients and other special compounds," says Philip DiSaia, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. "Just one additional serving of vegetables or fruits could help lower the risk of head and neck cancer."

Some, who listened to mom, may already be eating the very foods that help prevent cancer. For anyone else, luckily, simply mapquesting directions to your local grocery store can launch you on your cancer prevention journey.

Eat Your Veggies

Cauliflower and cabbage, and cruciferous vegetables, both contain contain cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli is a "super veggie" and is the only one that carries a large amount of sulforaphane, a compound that boosts the body's protective enzymes, which helps eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in the breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach and bladder. Phytochemicals in garlic, a nitrate, have been found to help stop the formation of nitrosamines - cancer-causing carcinogens formed in the stomach and in the intestines. An Iowa Women's Health Study found that women with the highest amounts of garlic in their diets had a 50 percent lower risk of certain colon cancers than women who ate the least.

Fruit Or Bust, Lycopene A Must

Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue. Lycopene, was found to help stop endometrial cancer cells, which cause nearly 8,000 deaths a year. Lycopene also helps fight lung, prostate and stomach cancers.

Black raspberries carry high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which can slow down the growth of pre-malignant cells. They also have a reputation for keeping new blood vessels from forming that can feed a cancerous tumor. Black raspberries also can help prevent colon, esophageal, oral and skin cancers.

Go Nuts & Count Your Beans

Walnuts contain phytosterols, cholesterol-like molecules found in plants, which have been proven to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells' growth. Phytosterols also help prevent prostate cancer in men.

A Michigan State University study found that black and navy beans significantly reduced colon cancer incidence in rats, because a diet rich in the legumes actually increased levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which has protective effects against cancer growth. Another study found that dried beans were particularly effective in preventing breast cancer in rats.

By eating these "super foods," you not only can lower chances for several types of cancer, but also can help prevent other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Thanks mom.