Kale – An Anti-Cancer Food

Kale - A Great Anti-Cancer Food

Kale is high in folate, which is vital in preventing blood vessel and DNA damage. It is a member of the cabbage family, so it also includes a number of the anti-cancer properties of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.

In addition to the folate, it is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and a range of phytochemicals including lutein which promotes eyesight and has been shown to be beneficial in cancer studies.

According to the American Cancer Society, the carotenoids in Kale, have been shown to lower the risk of a range of cancers including mouth and pharynx cancers, oesophageal cancer and lung cancer. Other studies show similar properties with respect to bladder cancer.

Power combination: Be sure to eat kale alongside foods rich in vitamin C, as this helps the absorption of the iron. Equally, adding oil, such as cold-pressed olive oil will help the absorption of the carotenoids.

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Ginger Root And The Prevention Of Cancer

Ginger Root For The Prevention Of Cancer

Ginger has long been known to possess a number of therapeutic properties. It is being used in remedies for coughs, colds, sore throats, bronchitis, and even to reduce nausea. However, a recent study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, indicated that it also could be used as a supplement to prevent colon/bowel cancer.

Participants in the study were noted as having significantly reduced markers of colon inflammation. Such inflammation has been shown in prior studies to be a significant precursor to colorectal cancer. The levels of Ginger Root used in the study were 2g of ginger extract, which is the equivalent to eating 20g of raw ginger.

Other US studies have also shown ginger to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can help to relieve the discomfort from arthritis, and more importantly where cancer is concerned, gingerols, an active ingredient within ginger, have been shown to kill cancer cells.

Interestingly, a US study indicated that ginger was just as effective in the treatment of arthritis as the standard and currently available anti-inflammatory drugs, but did not display any of the dangerous side effects.

In a study conducted by the University of Michigan, ginger was found to be excellent at killing cancer cells. When researchers dissolved ginger powder into a solution containing ovarian cancer cultures, the mutated cells died.

It was found that the ginger destroyed the ovarian cancer cells in two different ways. Firstly, the ginger triggered programmed cell death, (apoptosis), and secondly, the ginger triggered autophagy, which is where the cancer cells digest themselves. The researchers discovered that ginger caused the exact same rate of apoptosis that chemotherapy drugs achieve, yet ginger does not cause any side-effects.

The researchers also highlighted the fact that Ginger Root helps to control inflammation, which can be a precursor to ovarian cancer.

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Can Figs Prevent Cancer?

Do Figs Prevent Cancer?

Figs have the greatest amount of fibre, in comparison with any other fresh or dried fruit, which makes them excellent for your digestive system.

They also contain digestive enzymes that promote regular bowel movement. This helps to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Figs also contain a number of antioxidants, which help to protect your cells and DNA from free radical damage.

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Can Lemons Help With Cancer Prevention?

Will Lemons Help With Cancer Prevention?

Lemons contain folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and a compound that has demonstrated anti-cancer properties called limonene. All citrus fruit are high in flavonoids, which are highly potent antioxidants.

In laboratory studies, citrus limonoids have been shown to exert an anti-proliferation effect on cancers of the colon, lung, breast, stomach, mouth, liver, skin and even human neuroblastoma tumours, which are more common in children.

Whilst cranberries were also shown to provide a benefit, lemons showed the greatest level of activity. It is believed that the difference in effectiveness is due to the fact that limonoids remain in the bloodstream for longer. Other products studied, such as the phenols in green tea, only remained in the bloodstream for 4 to 6 hours.

In relation to rheumatoid arthritis, a study involving over 20,000 people discovered that those who consumed the least foods rich in vitamin C were over three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who maintained a high vitamin C diet.

Add lemon to your drinks, squeeze fresh lemon juice over fish and salad and try to include lemon zest in your cookery.

Please also see the Citrus Fruit section for other fruit with similar properties.

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Angelina Jolie Reveals Double Mastectomy

Many people do not tend to think of cancer on an everyday basis, yet its impact upon our lives is virtually inevitable (based upon current statistics).  Even our most cherished celebrities can be affected, such as Angelina Jolie.  Whilst it is a sobering wake-up call to many people, the good that comes from this is that it raises awareness and helps reinforce the need for us to look after our health.

Learn more about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy below:


(Image source: Flickr / Chris_Natt )   BY LAUREN ZIMA   Angelina Jolie revealed she had a double mastectomy in a powerful op-ed piece for The New York Times. The actress tells of discovering she carries the gene BRCA1 — that doctors told her she was at an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer, and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. She decided to have her breast tissue removed. “…the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. … I can tell my children that they […]

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Preventing Cancer With Raspberries

Preventing Cancer Using Raspberries

There are actually a wide variety of different raspberries, but many people are more familiar with the red variety, than the less common black raspberries found in North America.

Black raspberries can easily be confused with blackberries, but they are different. Blackberries are more shiny, and when you pick the fruit from the stem, black raspberries are hollow, whereas blackberries retain a central core from the plant.

Raspberries contain a generous amount of vitamin C, along with other nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus and dietary fibre. They are packed with antioxidants and a wide range of phytochemicals that are known to help prevent disease.

Freezing, drying or turning raspberries into preserves will reduce a significant proportion of the vitamin C, however the bulk of the antioxidants remain unharmed.

A number of studies have been conducted on raspberries, with particular attention paid to black raspberries, which have greater quantities of cancer-fighting substances. One particular study, observing the effect of raspberry extracts on human liver cancer cells discovered that the more raspberry extract used, the less frequently the cancer cells replicated.

A study on human oesophageal cancer cells discovered that a diet containing black raspberries substantially reduced tumour cell growth.

Hamster studies have shown that black raspberries inhibit the formation of oral tumours.

Certain attention has been paid to the phytochemicals beta-sitosterol and ferulic acid (contained within black raspberries), because in studies it stopped the growth of both premalignant and malignant oral cancer cells.

In the field of diabetes, it has also been discovered that the anthocyanins in raspberries help reduce blood glucose levels after carbohydrate-rich meals. This will help to reduce the damage caused by excess levels of glucose, which causes the ageing of your tissues.

Laboratory studies using mice that were fed high-fat diets with varying quantities of raspberries discovered that greater raspberry consumption helps to prevent fatty livers and actually reduced the level of obesity.

Whilst your current consumption of raspberries may be limited to those contained in fruit yoghurt or preserves, you can purchase freeze-dried or frozen raspberries to add to your favourite desserts, or just to eat as a tasty treat.

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Cauliflower And The Prevention Of Cancer

The Prevention Of Cancer With Cauliflower

As you will have seen in the cabbage section, compounds within cauliflower stimulate the production of I3C, which suppresses the protein that triggers excessive cell reproduction that is common to many types of cancer.

Like broccoli, cauliflower also contains indoles, including sulphuraphane, an isothiocyanate that seems to inhibit breast tumours.

Cauliflower also contains glucosinolates, which have been shown in studies to decrease the risk of prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancer.

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Cheese And Your Cancer Risk

Cancer Prevention and Cheese

Whilst there are some question marks surrounding dairy products in relation to cancer, several notable studies have been published indicating the extraordinary benefits of vitamin K2 which is found in high concentrations in fermented or mature cheeses. Blue cheeses, feta cheese, or aged hard cheeses such as mature cheddar are all high in vitamin K2, otherwise known as menaquinone.

Vitamin K1, can be derived from a number of vegetable sources, but it is the vitamin K2 that has been shown to be so extraordinarily effective in preventing cancer.

Vitamin K2 can also be found at lower levels in chicken, beef, liver, some animal fats and sauerkraut.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010, which analysed data from over 24,000 participants covering a ten-year period, the researchers discovered that those who consumed the greatest levels of vitamin K2 were 14% less likely to develop cancer, and 28% less likely to die of it, in comparison with those who had the lowest intake.

In another study, conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, it was discovered that individuals with the highest levels of dietary vitamin K2 intake had a 45% lower risk of developing a cancer of the immune system called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Other research has also shown that vitamin K2 can be a beneficial factor in preventing or reducing additional forms of cancer including cancer of the liver, stomach, colon and mouth.

The issue with cheese is that it is high in animal fat and animal protein, and this has been shown to increase the risk of certain forms of cancer, so perhaps supplementing with vitamin K2 is the most sensible precaution.

Certainly, if you have cancer already, you should consider cutting dairy from your diet immediately so as to avoid the hormones, growth factors, antibiotics and more that are injected into cattle in many countries.  Cheese is hard to substitute, but milk can easily be replaced by almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, rice milk, soya milk and more!

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The Anti-Cancer Properties of Apricots

Could Apricots Prevent Cancer?
Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, along with vitamin C, fibre, quercetin and lycopene which all exhibit cancer-fighting properties. In a dried form, they make excellent healthy snacks. The American Cancer Society states that apricots and other foods that are rich in carotenes have the potential to lower the risk of various cancers, including those of the oesophagus, lungs and larynx.

A study of over 50,000 registered female nurses also discovered that those nurses consuming the highest quantities of vitamin A, reduced the likelihood of developing cataracts by nearly 40%, making apricots a fantastic preserver of eye health, by preventing free radical damage to eye tissues over time.

The dried apricots you might get from your supermarket are a bright orange colour, but naturally, apricots turn brown after a short period of time. Maintaining this bright orange colour is due to treatment by sulphur dioxide, which is a preserving agent. Health food stores normally provide unprocessed apricots, which are brown but taste the same.

The seed within the apricots contain significant quantities of vitamin B17, which as described in the section on Apples, has been cited as being one of the most important tools against cancer by many practitioners of alternative medicine.

You can purchase apricot seeds from health food stores, although they may be more difficult to acquire in certain countries.  The more bitter the apricot kernal, the greater the concentration of vitamin B17.  For example, they are available as sweet, bitter and extrememly bitter.

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Cancer Prevention With Beetroot or Beets

Cancer Prevention Using Beetroot or Beets

Beetroot contains a whole range of active ingredients that can help to fight cancer. Firstly, the red pigment (betacyanin) found in beetroot has some anticarcinogenic properties, but not only that, beets also have the property of being able to increase the cellular intake of oxygen by as much as 400%.

This is great news, because cancer cells respond very poorly to elevated levels of oxygen. In fact, a recent study revealed that beetroot juice enabled people to exercise for up to 16% longer because they required less oxygen for the same level of aerobic activity!

Beets also contain manganese, which is needed for your body’s production of interferon, which has been shown in studies to act as a powerful anti-cancer agent.

In addition, betaine, found in beetroot, stimulates liver cells to eliminate toxins. This defence of the liver and bile ducts enables your liver to function more effectively, which detoxifies your whole system.

Many cancer patients have a heavy load placed upon their livers, so any mechanism to improve the function is a good idea. Beetroot juice not only contains high levels of betaine, but it is also alkaline which helps reverse acidosis, which is a precursor for a number of diseases. Any foods that encourage an alkaline environment set up a hostile environment for cancer, because cancer cells prefer acidic conditions within the body.

Beetroot juice has also been found to widen blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. Just a single 250ml glass each day was clinically proven to significantly lower blood pressure just 24 hours later. Researchers discovered that the active ingredient that achieves this effect was nitrates, because nitrates formed nitric oxide in the blood. They also found that taking nitrates in tablet form achieved the same effect.

Finally, beetroot juice can also combat the effects of nitrites, (not to be confused with nitrates) which are the chemical preservatives used in cured meat products, such as ham. Nitrites have been shown to increase your risk of stomach and bowel cancer. Better to avoid nitrites in cured meats altogether, but if you don’t, then try to consume them with beetroot on the side (as part of a salad) or as beetroot juice.

One word of warning though, for anyone that has not consumed much beetroot before, not everybody has the enzymes necessary to break down the coloured pigment, so you may experience purple or red urine, which is known as beeturia. But this is perfectly harmless.

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Bananas And Cancer Prevention

Cancer Prevention And Bananas

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fibre. Green bananas are also a source of resistant starch, which is digested more slowly and does not cause blood sugar to surge. It is believed that resistant starch could reduce the risk of a number of different types of cancer, including colon cancer.

Certainly in the case of kidney cancer, a large population study discovered that women who consumed bananas around 4 to 6 times per week reduced their risk of kidney cancer by up to 50% compared with women who didn’t eat bananas at all.

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How Asparagus Could Help Prevent Cancer

How Asparagus Might Help Prevent Cancer

Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and thiamine. It also contains rutin, which is a flavonoid that is thought to possess anti-inflammatory properties. It strengthens blood vessels and can protect against oxidative tissue damage. Asparagus is also high in glutathione, which is an antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals.

Glutathione has been shown to reduce the risk of a number of types of cancer, and in fact in many cancer patients, the glutathione levels are significantly depleted.  Replacing the missing glutathione may help increase survival rates.

Another plant chemical found in Asparagus, protodioscin, has been linked to the reduction of bone loss, an increase in sexual desire and studies have indicated that it can have an impact on several different forms of cancer cells.

It is an excellent source of folic acid, which has been shown to help control your levels of homocysteine. When folate levels are low, blood levels of homocysteine may rise, which can significantly increase your risk for heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Where diabetes is concerned, a 2006 study reported in the British Journal of Medicine, showed that an extract of Asparagus was able to improve the action of insulin, creating an 81% increase in the glucose uptake of fat cells. This is important because it would help to lower blood sugar levels, and an excess of blood sugar promotes premature ageing and damage to almost all of our issues.

In terms of digestive health, Asparagus contains inulin, which is a carbohydrate that isn’t easily digested, but does provide a food source for the friendly bacteria in our gut, helping to promote the bacteria that improve our digestion and strengthen our immune system.

Overall, asparagus is an excellent addition to your diet, even if it is less frequent than some of the other fruit and vegetables recommended within our nutritional advice section.

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Could Blueberries Help Prevent Cancer?

Can Blueberries Prevent Cancer?

High in antioxidants, blueberries are excellent for detoxifying the body and providing protection against free radicals caused by stress, smoking, poor diet and a range of other factors. Free radicals are implicated in heart disease, cancer and a range of other conditions.  Studies also suggest that the dark pigments contained within blueberries, known as anthocyanins, may protect against diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Interestingly, memory experts, including the US grand champion, Ronnie White, highly recommend blueberries as a part of your diet if you intend to compete in memory tournaments.

Many of the most potent anti-cancer compounds within blueberries are also found in blackberries, so please also see the Blackberry section.

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Beans And The Prevention Of Cancer

Prevention Of Cancer With Beans

Beans and other pulses, are digested slowly by the body to give a sustained release of energy. This helps to moderate blood sugar levels which is a good way of slowing the ageing process. Much of the way our tissues age is due to glycation from the excess blood sugar we get from high carbohydrate food sources.

Eating beans and other pulses also helps to stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid which is a substance that occurs naturally in the skin. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin to retain water within the skin cells, basically acting as a moisturiser that keeps your skin smooth and wrinkle free. Of course collagen and elastin play their part but a good intake of vitamin C and vitamin E in fruit and nuts covers that requirement. The important thing is that levels of hyaluronic acid decrease as your skin ages.

Most importantly where cancer is concerned, is that in addition to the other phytonutrients, and protein, beans provide high levels of dietary fibre which can help keep bowel movements more regular and lowers your risk of colorectal cancer.

Studies have also indicated a reduction in breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women associated with the consumption of beans.

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Do Brazil Nuts Prevent Cancer?

Can Brazil Nuts Prevent Cancer?

Brazil nuts have been found to be more protective against cancer than pure selenium selenite. They contain an abundance of selenium, which is a mineral that has mood boosting properties, which can include relieving fatigue, anxiety and depression. They also contain ellagic acid, a compound that blocks enzymes that are necessary for the growth of cancer cells.

Combine that with the enzyme glutathione, (which suppresses free radicals and has been shown in studies to slow or halt the development of tumours), vitamin E, magnesium, iron and omega-6 essential fatty acids and you have probably the most nutritious nut of them all. You should try to eat some everyday, along with walnuts and almonds.

Power Combination: combine Brazil nuts with cabbage or broccoli or other sources of sulforaphane such as watercress, or rocket. According to the Institute of Food Research, if you combine sulforaphane with selenium (in Brazil nuts), the combined cancer fighting properties are up to 13 times more potent than either one alone.

You also get selenium in walnuts, eggs, soya beans and seafood. Try adding chopped Brazil nuts to coleslaw or sauerkraut, or a grating them onto a rocket salad.

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