Surviving cancer is one of the most difficult and harrowing experiences one may ever go through. When someone survives a debilitating disease like cancer, the battle doesn’t stop when you are in remission. It is important that you continue to live a healthy lifestyle and focus on a balanced diet. Because your body is still recuperating and in the process of gaining strength, you will need to supply it with powerful foods that will help strengthen and boost your body’s immunity. We’ve listed some very powerful foods below that not only provide you with a very healthy boost of important minerals and vitamins, but they also are specifically tailored for have anti-cancer properties.
Remember, if you are currently battling cancer or are in remission, it is important to reduce the stress in your life as much as possible, get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Having a support system is also very important in the recovery process. Your close friends and family can help you and it is important that you ask for help when you need it.
Red grapes are a great source of vitamin C and they are also full of antioxidants. Every part of the grape, including the skin, contains cancer-fighting properties. In fact, the thin skin of the grape contains a substance called resveratrol, and it is in the skin where most of the resveratrol is concentrated. Also, red and purple grapes contain more of this powerful phytochemical than green grapes. The darker the skin is, the more resveratrol it contains. Some studies have shown that resveratrol can battle cancer growth and initiation of tumors in lymph, stomach, breast and liver cancer cells. While wine does contain resveratrol, some research points to alcohol intake also increasing the risk of some cancers, so it is best to only drink wine in very conservative moderation, and get most of your resveratrol intake from an organic fruit or vegetable like grapes.(1, 2)
Grape seed extract
Grape seeds are a great source of phytochemicals and proanthocyanidins. Similar to resveratrol, they too are a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants can boost the body’s immunity which is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system which can fight off cancer. Every part of the grape has been shown to fight off cancer, not just the skin and seeds. Grape seed extract itself comes from the ground up seeds of red grapes and can be taken as a supplement. It is a concentrated form of all the powerful phytochemicals and antioxidants of the grape.(2)
Berries are a favorite fruit because their flavor can be both sweet and tangy. From blueberries to raspberries, it doesn’t matter which kind, these fruits are rich in anthocyanins. These anthocyanins, a kind of phytochemical, can inhibit precancerous cells from growing. Black raspberries are a good choice because they have the highest amount of anthocyanins. Recovering cancer victims stricken with oral, colon, skin or esophageal cancers are encouraged to eat half a cup of berries daily.(3)
Walnuts are excellent sources of alpha-linolenic acid, melatonin, gamma-tocopherol, ellagitannins, polyphenols and phytosterols. Polyphenols and phytosterols may have the ability to get in between receptors that are responsible for breast cancer. Because of their inability to extract estrogen, phytosterols help prevent the growth of cancerous cells especially among prostrate and breast cancers.(3,4)
Some people might try to avoid buying avocados at the local grocery store because of their high fat content. However, avocados contain the healthy kind of fat, the one that you shouldn’t be afraid of eating. Full of rich antioxidants, this super fruit contains healing properties and has the ability to fight against a particular kind of cancer: AML or acute myeloid leukemia. The darkest shade of green within the fruit offer plenty of carotenoids, components that help combat cancer cells. There are other benefits of consuming avocados on a regular basis. It keeps bad cholesterol away, aids in losing weight and offers many nutrients.(5)
These red, plump and juicy fruits are full of lycopene, a phytochemical which may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. One study found that this carotenoid may have aided in the prevention of the growth of tumors in patients who were affected with endometrial, stomach and prostate cancer. The best source of lycopene comes from cooked, rather than raw, tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes helps to increase the absorption of lycopene.(3)
Garlic is a medicinal food that has been used for generations. Garlic comes from the Allium family, which also includes chives and onions. Garlic contains substances like allixin, allicin, quercetin, allyl sulfides and alliin. Additionally, diallyl disulphide, a component derived from garlic, may be extremely effective in hindering cancer growth especially in the colon, lungs and skin. Make sure to include garlic in your diet regularly along with other vegetables.(6)
Asparagus is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, fiber, chromium and folate. Rich in powerful antioxidants, tasty asparagus has the powerful ability to turn harmful radicals into a more acceptable state for the body. Additionally, asparagus contains a substance called glutathione, which is responsible for detoxifying free radicals, regulating blood sugar, slowing down the process of aging, cleaning the kidneys and many other health benefits. Asparagus helps fight against bone, lung, breast, larynx and colon cancers. Low in calories, and easy to cook, asparagus is a great addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner.(7, 8)
Pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene, which is known for stimulating one’s immunity which can slow down the growth of cancer cells within the body. Another carotenoid that is responsible for inhibiting cancer growth is alpha-carotene. Pumpkin is a very versatile vegetable; it can be cooked in soup, bread, cake or you can simply roast pumpkin on its own. Pumpkin seeds are also incredibly nutritious. Pumpkin seeds can be purchased separately or you can simply buy a full pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.(9)
Broccoli is a cruciferous green vegetable that is rich in sulforaphane. This particular substance is known for strengthening the existing enzymes in the body and cleaning out unhealthy toxins that may cause cancer within the body. This type of vegetable does extremely well with patients who have experienced bladder, breast, prostate, liver, skin and stomach cancers. While other foods require moderation, broccoli defies these rules. Nutritionists encourage eating as much broccoli as you like. See anti-cancer effects of cruciferous vegetables in this video here.(10)
These cancer-fighting foods are a great way to incorporate healthy, clean eating into your diet. These foods were picked specifically with anti-cancer properties in mind. Whether you are a survivor of cancer, or know that cancer runs in your family, it is important to maintain a healthy diet which includes nutritious fruits and vegetables like the ones listed above.