With over 6,000 new diagnoses each day, cancer is spreading as a global epidemic and research is being done to identify its causes. While a specific cause has yet to be discovered, foods that are considered to reduce the risk of cancer have been found. Luckily, many local restaurants make incorporating these foods into students’ diets easy and appetizing.
- Tomatoes – This fruit is packed with lycopene, a red pigment and antioxidant associated with reduced occurrence of cancer and heart disease. Studies show that it reduces the risk of lung, stomach, and prostate cancer. “Health Benefits of the Tomato Lycopene & More” on happynutritionsit.com states that a study at Harvard showed that men who had at least ten servings of tomatoes a week had a 34% lower chance of prostate cancer. In addition, it has other confirmed health benefits, such as protecting the immune system by destroying harmful molecules known as ‘free radicals’ that float around the body and promote disease. This means that Panera’s Vegetarian Creamy Tomato soup is not only a tasty option for lunch, but healthy too.
- Sweet potatoes – Dr. Mehmet Oz from The Doctor Oz Show, a daily talk show that discusses medical issues and personal health, encourages his patients to eat a cup of sweet potatoes every day. According to Dr. Oz, “Sweet potatoes contain lutein and carotenoids, molecules shown to starve cancer cells. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with alpha carotene. In studies, people with the highest levels of alpha carotene had almost a 40% decrease in risk of death.” Flipdaddy’s, a local burger joint, makes adding sweet potatoes to any meal easy with its famous, freshly made sweet potato fries.
- Spinach – “Health Benefits of Spinach” on www.symptomfind.com says that spinach contains folate, a B vitamin that is essential to cell growth and reproduction. This vitamin prevents and repairs free radical damage done by cancer cells on the body. As is true with most leafy greens, spinach is also known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. While spinach does not have much flavor, Applebee’s Spinach and Artichoke dip transforms it into a delicious appetizer.
- Red grapes –Results published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that eating red grapes has a positive effect on cancer reduction. A reason for this is that they contain flavonoid, another compound that prevents free radicals from damaging the body.
- Blueberries – “5 Foods That Help Fight & Prevent Cancer” on www.organicauthority.com claims that along with preventing the damage of free radicals, blueberries also prevent metastatic disease, which is the spreading of cancer from organ to organ.
- Garlic – Garlic contains compounds that stimulate the immune system’s natural defense against cancer. In a study done by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, higher intakes of garlic were associated with a reduced risk of intestinal cancer. Also, “Garlic and Cancer Prevention” on www.cancer.gov states that a study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area found that pancreatic cancer risk was reduced 54% in people who ate larger amounts of garlic compared to people who ate low amounts. Adding garlic bread to any dish at Olive Garden makes reducing the risk of cancer easy and tasty.
- Broccoli – Scientists at the American Association of Cancer Research Conference stated in their findings that eating broccoli three times a month reduced the risk of cancer up to 40%. Studies done by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences show that DIM and I3C, two organic plant parts found in broccoli, might help cure cancer. Also, I3C is very effective when fighting breast cancer cells and blocking tumor growth. However, studies cited in “Microwave oven Kills Nutrients” on www.arimifoods.com also show that microwaving broccoli destroys 97% of its cancer-fighting compounds. Remember to steam it or eat it raw.