For many of us, cancer is one of the scariest words in the dictionary. What’s even scarier—the number of new cancer cases seems to be growing worldwide. In fact, some experts expect for the number of new cases to increase up to 50% by 2030.
So, what could be the cause of these scary stats? Some experts believe that the answer lies in the ultra-processed foods that fill our daily diets. Now you may be wondering what exactly falls into the ultra-processed category? Everything from packaged breads/buns and savory packaged snacks to instant noodles and self-life ready meals.
While the cancer—food connection may be a frightening at first, this same connection can actually be beneficial. It’s time to change your diet from one that’s cancer-causing to cancer-fighting instead. Here are 6 foods—linked to cancer prevention—that you be adding to your diet ASAP.
1. Chia Seeds
Put a little cha-cha back in your day with chia seeds. These little seeds are packed full of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. The many antioxidants found in chia seeds are known to prevent lung and prostate cancer, while the rich source of fiber can promote digestive health and potentially reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Chia seeds are relatively flavorless and can easily be added to many kinds of dishes, making them one of the most versatile foods on this list.
2. Red Grapes
Resveratrol is one of the most studied antioxidants, and is famously found in red wine. The good news is this cancer-fighting compound can also be found in the source of red wine—red grapes!
Resveratrol is found in the skin of the grapes, which also contains several other powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and catechins. Grapes are also quite versatile – freeze them for a refreshing snack, roast them for a delicious meal topping, make a homemade jam or enjoy them right off the stem!
Walnuts may be one of the most nutritious nuts on the market. They contain almost twice the amount of antioxidants as other nuts, and thanks to their high nutritional value, they can help fight heart disease, too. Fatty acids and polyphenols found in walnuts are known to help prevent colorectal cancer and prostate cancer, respectively.
There have also been several studies suggesting walnuts may help suppress cancer growth in the breasts and kidneys as well. And fun fact, roasting walnuts makes it easier for the body to absorb these cancer-fighting nutrients. Roasted walnuts can be enjoyed as a snack or used as a topping for nearly any meal.
Like walnuts, artichokes are rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant know to attack breast and colorectal cancer cells. While polyphenols cannot be used to treat cancer, they may be beneficial for preventing cancer cell growth in the first place.
They also contain a significant amount of folate, a vitamin thought to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. Artichoke hearts are known for adding texture to dips, but they can also be roasted or grilled and served as a delicious, healthy side.
Blueberries may be one of the most famous cancer-fighting foods on the market. This is for good reason as blueberries have the highest total antioxidant capacity of any other food.
They are extremely rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant directly linked to hindering the growth of various cancer cells. Even better, they’re delicious! Whether you enjoy them in muffins, smoothies, yogurt or as a standalone snack, blueberries are a must-eat for anyone looking to fill up on antioxidants.
6. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts may get a bad rap for increasing our flatulent tendencies, but the high concentration of antioxidants found in this cruciferous vegetable may make them worth a bit of fiber-induced gas (just don’t eat them before a first date). Indoles and isothiocyanates are found in many cruciferous vegetables and are known to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs, colon, liver, breasts and bladder.
Consuming Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables has been linked to preventing lung, breast and prostate cancers. While many people think of roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts served as a side, they can also be grilled or chopped into a delicious, cancer-fighting slaw.
Looking for cancer-fighting tips and recipes?
While diet alone can’t guarantee that you stay cancer free, eating foods rich in antioxidants can help in the fight against oxidation, a process that produces cancer-causing free radical cells. For healthy recipes containing your favorite antioxidant-rich foods, visit Everyday Wellness – GMC’s virtual hub for all things health.
In the event that you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you can count on the experts at GMC's Center for Cancer Care. With a new location opening in GMC Health Park-Hamilton Mill, you can receive nationally recognized cancer care, in a convenient location that's close to home.