These days it seems that so many friends and loved ones are being diagnosed with cancer. Friends of all ages, of all health statuses, with all different kinds of cancer at all different stages. It is important to live a healthy life with a balanced diet and active lifestyle to maintain optimal health. When it comes to diet, we all know we should be eating a lot of vegetables, but there are certain kinds of vegetables that are actually known to fight cancer, in addition to providing numerous other health benefits. Add these five cancer fighting vegetables to a healthy diet and feel great while fighting off illness and disease
- Tomatoes are not only delicious but nutritious! They offer a number of health benefits and should be a staple of anyone’s diet. Better Homes and Gardens describes the cancer fighting benefits of tomatoes, “This fruit/vegetable is the epitome of a cancer-fighting superfood. Not only do tomatoes contain lycopene, the antioxidant phytochemical that also helps prevent heart disease, but they’re a good source of vitamins A, C, and E — all enemies of cancer-friendly free radicals. Pile tomatoes, spinach, and peppers on top of ready-made pizza dough and top with tomato sauce and part-skim mozzarella. Pop some cherry tomatoes into your romaine lettuce salad. Stuff your sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and alfalfa sprouts or shredded broccoli. However you do it, find a way to add tomatoes to your daily diet.”
- Broccoli can be prepared a number of healthy and delicious ways. It can be a great addition to a main course, a wonderful side dish, or a delicious and quick snack. Health describes how broccoli is a wonderful addition to your arsenal of cancer fighting foods, “All cruciferous veggies (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale) contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals, says Jed Fahey, ScD. A recent University of Michigan study on mice found that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells—those that aid in tumor growth. “
- Kale is all the rage in the culinary world. It seems like every restaurant now has a kale salad on their menu or a kale side dish. Kale has a robust flavor and if you want to bring a touch of this restaurant trend to your home cooking menu, it will be a delicious addition. But, not only will it be delicious, it will help keep your body healthy, supply necessary nutrients, and help you fight cancer. Kale is another cruciferous vegetable and has a high concentration of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Research has shown it to be a powerful soldier against prostate and colon cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer.
- Carrots are adored by kids and adults alike. There are so many different ways to eat carrots that anyone can find a preparation they like. WebMD discusses the cancer fighting abilities of carrots, “One of the easiest vegetables to love, carrots are packed with disease-fighting nutrients. They contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant scientists believe may protect cell membranes from toxin damage and slow the growth of cancer cells. And carrots deliver other vitamins and phytochemicals that might guard against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Some studies suggest carrots protect against cervical cancer, perhaps because they supply antioxidants that could battle HPV (human papilloma virus), the major cause of cervical cancer. Plus, carrots contain falcarinol, a natural pesticide. Scientists in England found that rats given falcarinol were less likely to develop cancerous tumors. Cooked carrots supply more antioxidants than raw, according to a report in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. If you’re cooking carrots, leave them whole while steaming or boiling, and cut them after they’re done. That reduces the loss of nutrients, including falcarinol, and gives them a sweeter taste as well.”
- Cabbage is a staple of various different ethnic cuisines but may not be as widely used by others. But, that does not mean it shouldn’t be used! Not only are there a myriad of tasty recipes to cook with cabbage, but it will help fight off cancer in our bodies. Cabbage has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer. It should be minimally cooked or eaten completely raw to reap the full benefits of its cancer fighting properties.