One of the best things that you can do to prevent cancer is to eat a healthy, nutrient-packed diet. Though nearly all vegetables benefit your health, there are a few that are known for their preventative powers.
Including Chinese stir-fries in your family’s diet could help reduce their risk for cancer. Vegetables in the cabbage family like Chinese bok choy contain protective phytochemicals called glucosinolates that help the body eliminate carcinogens.
The traditional Asian diet is rich in cabbage-family vegetables, also called cruciferous vegetables, and contains nearly three times the level of protective glucosinolates as the typical American diet.
Further laboratory tests found that glucosinolates, which give cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste, stimulated the body to produce enzymes that help prevent prostate and other cancers.
Research suggests that consuming just two servings a day of cruciferous vegetables could cut the risk for certain types of cancer, including prostate and esophageal cancers, by nearly 50%.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are known to have certain chemicals and phytochemicals that can help prevent cancer. A particular component of these vegetables transforms a dangerous type of estrogen into a safer one, therefore helping to prevent breast cancer.
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which produces enzymes that destroy free radicals and carcinogens. Broccoli sprouts contain the most sulforaphane. These vegetables also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that help prevent prostate and other cancers.
Other cruciferous vegetables include brussels sprouts, horseradish, mustard greens, collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, rutabaga, watercress and Japanese wasabi.
Recent research linking the intake of specific foods to cancer risk found that tomatoes, carrots and hot peppers also had pronounced anti-cancer benefits.
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which actually attacks free radicals that can cause cancer. The best way to take advantage of the lycopene is to cook the tomatoes, thereby concentrating the powerful antioxidant. Research shows that some oil needs to be consumed with the tomatoes in order for the lycopene to be properly absorbed. A great choice for getting some lycopene in your diet is by using a tomato sauce with some olive oil in it for cooking. Lycopene can help prevent cancers of the breast, prostate, pancreas and colon. It can also be found in watermelons, carrots, and red peppers but in less concentrated amounts.
There have been some debate about the effects of beta-carotene on the body. Some scientists believe that too much beta-carotene can actually cause cancer. However, besides beta-carotene, carrots also contain a cancer-fighting ingredient called falcarinol. According to the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, when cancer cells are exposed to falcarinol, the cells grow much more slowly, thereby slowing down the spread of cancer. However, cooking the carrots will decrease the antioxidants so they must be eaten raw to gain maximum benefit.
Spice up your diet with some jalapenos and chilli peppers. The ingredient that gives these vegetables their kick, capsaicin, has been shown to help prevent cancer. It can also neutralise nitrosamines, which cause cancer. Capsaicin is especially effective in helping to prevent stomach cancer.