Foods to Include in an Anti-Cancer Diet
Author: Jenny Bradley, M.A.I.L., CNE
Did you know scholars propose only 5-15% of cancer is genetic?! Late medical doctor and neuroscientist David Servan-Schrieber, MD, Ph.D notes, “All research on cancer concurs: Genetic factors contribute to at most 15% of mortalities from cancer. In short, there is no genetic fatality. We can all learn to protect ourselves”. That is good news! It shows us we can influence our cells activity through the role of epigenetics.
Our lifestyles, including what we eat, influence what is “nearby” to toggle our gene’s indicators on or off. That means we can do things, even while living with cancer, to best support the body’s systems down to the intracellular level. This often starts with a trip to the grocery store and making conscious decisions about what we put in our cart. Below are some anti-cancer foods to add to your shopping list:
Blueberries contain “ellagic acid and other compounds with anti-mutagenic effects that can protect your cells from free radicals and DNA damage, as well as slow down or stop cancer cell growth for many types of cancer”. They also inhibit angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation that feeds the cancer)
Green Tea has a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that has been shown to interrupt the metabolic pathways of breast cancer stem cells. Warm the water to no more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit, not boil, in order to not burn the tea and therefore lose more of its anticancer properties.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in DIM (diindolylmethane) which helps one’s body process estrogen into safe metabolites and helps maintain healthy levels of estrogen. Lightly steam or briefly sauté the cruciferous veggies to help reduce the goitrogenic properties that may bother the thyroid or give digestive rumbles.
Curcumin found in turmeric has been found to possess an unprecedented amount of anticancer properties which include reducing inflammation and reducing risk of metastasis . Include black pepper or a healthy fat, like organic unrefined coconut oil, when using turmeric in recipes in order to help the body best absorb its important nutrients.
Ginger is a is a warming spice that is a powerful anti-inflammatory that acts against certain cancer cells and helps reduce the formation of new blood vessels. It also helps in dealing with side effects of various cancer therapies. “Ginger suppresses nausea and therefore is excellent treatment and preventative for the nausea and upset stomach that sometimes occurs with chemotherapy treatment.”
Garlic and onions are in the same family and express many of the same anticancer effects. This family aids in the metabolization of toxins out of the body while also enhancing DNA repair, slowing cancer cell reproduction, and inducing apoptosis (cancer cell death). Chop raw garlic and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking it in order to help it form the anticancer compound from the enzyme allicin. Onions have a powerful flavonoid called Quercetin which has been shown to inhibit the cancer pathways that lead to metastasis.
Mushrooms have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Many mushrooms have anticancer benefits, but one study showed white button mushrooms suppress aromatase by 60 percent From their polysaccharides, mushrooms stimulate and modulate the immune system and increase immune cell activity within tumors.
As with any dietary recommendations, this information does not substitute for personalized guidance from your licensed medical practitioner who knows your particular case.
Jenny Bradley has been thriving with her cancer diagnosis since 2017. She equips others to confidently advocate for themselves and have more peace and less overwhelm on a cancer journey. Jenny has a Master of Arts in Intellectual Leadership and is a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert who shares her cancer insights and tips at shrinkthemutantschool.com and @shrinkthemutant on Instagram. Jenny lives in Kansas with her husband Mike and their little dog Poppy.