The World Health Organization’s World Cancer Report 2014 reported that new cancer cases in 2012 rose to about 14 million globally and in 20 years from now, it is likely that the world will witness 22 million new cancer cases each year. Additionally, the report also warns that obesity and poor diet are the two main contributing factors to this deadly disease.        

There has been adequate amount of research which proves that healthy eating can help in fighting the battle against cancer.

Although it cannot be ascertained that healthy foods are guaranteed to prevent cancer, it has been proven time and again that some foods do contain cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that people who generously consume fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cancer while researches around the world encourage consumption of plant-origin food and lesser consumption of processed food, high content of salt and sugar, and red meat. Here are seven foods which have been proven to lower the risk of cancer.

Apple

The good old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away could not be more true. The antioxidant ingredients which apples contain include quercetin, epicatechin, anthocyanins and triterpenoids. These power-packed ingredients ranks apples among the highest in all fruits. They are known to protect cells from cancer-inducing oxidative damage, prevent the start of cancer cell growth, halt tumour growth as well as promote death of cancer cells. The low calories density of apples also means you will not be increasing your weight, in which case increases the risk of cancer. Cancers in which apples are known to heal are lungs, breast and stomach.

Garlic

Ironically, the same sulfur compounds in garlic which cause that awful breath also works to stop cancer-causing substances from forming in your body. It also focuses on enhancing DNA repair and kills cancer cells. Simply peel and chop the cloves and let them sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. That activates enzymes and releases the sulfur-containing compounds that have the most protective effect. A recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research has shown that those who ate raw garlic at least twice a week reduced the risk of lung cancer by 44%. The research also suggested that this practice reduces the risk in smokers by 30%. Medical experts also encourage to branch out into the allium family – onions, leeks, chives, and scallions might also protect against stomach cancer.

Tomatoes

Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer. Cooking tomatoes seems to enhance the effects of lycopene, qualifying tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a nutritional powerhouse. In addition to cancer prevention, tomatoes are also known to reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Grapefruit

An 18th century hybrid of the pummelo and sweet orange, the grapefruit contains vitamin C, naringenin and other flavonoids like limonin and other limonoids, beta-carotene and lycopene (pink and red varieties). In general, vitamin C is essential for preventing free radical damage. The vitamin C content and phytonutrients found in grapefruit help to prevent a number of issues related to DNA damage and oxidative stress, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and cancer growth. A research presented at the 228th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society found that grapefruit ignites the death of cancer cells and increases production of healthy colon cells, protecting against colon cancer when consumed three times daily at six ounces for each serving.

Green Tea

In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells. Other studies involving green tea have shown similar protective effects in tissues of the lung, skin and digestive tract. Both black and green teas, light or concentrated, contain numerous active ingredients, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. In fact, all types of tea — green, black, white, oolong — seem to have value as cancer preventive agents.

In the eastern world, since ancient times, tea has been the preferred beverage and this has worked greatly in their favour. In Japan, green tea consumption has been linked to reduced risk of stomach cancer among women while in China, green tea drinkers were found to have a lower risk of developing rectal and pancreatic cancers compared with non-tea drinkers. Regular tea drinkers have also been shown to be at reduced risk for colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and lung cancers.

Donna Lee is a medical nurse practitioner, specializing in Oncology. She also writes on the subject on her DearJane blog. To read up more on how to Prevent Cancer visit her there.

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