5 Super Foods That May Help Prevent Cancer

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Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, claiming the lives of 8.8 million people in 2015 alone, according to the Worldwide Health Organization. The WHO also noted that nearly 1 in 6 deaths has been linked to cancer globally.

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With those recent statistics, it is easy to call cancer a global epidemic — one that millions are trying tirelessly to cure. But more than a cure, finding how to prevent cancer from occuring is perhaps the first step to that cure.

In prevention efforts, many people are looking toward dietary changes that include what have been coined as “Super Foods” that have shown to help in prevention. Here are some that have been linked to cancer prevention.

1. Garlic

The smell of garlic on a Sunday afternoon lets you know that delicious goodness is about to meet your tastebuds. Perhaps it’s your mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce or French bread baking in the oven that has been slathered by garlic infused butter. Perhaps both. Either way, you’re in for a mouthful of deliciousness — that you will likely need to rinse away with a bottle of mouthwash to make sure your breath doesn’t stink to the high heavens.

But hold off on the mouthwash for just a second.

As it turns out, the same sulfur compounds that cause your breath to be a bit on the stinky side might actually be key to riding the cancer causing substances from taking form in your body. It may actually speed up DNA repair and kill cancer cells.

If that’s not enough to add these cloves among the list of superfoods, Cancer.gov cited several studies that showed a link between garlic use and reduced risk of certain cancers, including those in the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. Furthermore, when higher amounts of raw and cooked garlic were consumed, the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer was lower.

2. Tomatoes

If it isn’t the garlic smell you love when you visit home for a home cooked plate of spaghetti, maybe it’s the tomatoes that have spent hours cooking down to a delicious sauce. And  you’re in luck that not only to these red fruits smell and taste good, but they’ve also made our list.

Tomato lycopene, which is the bright red carotene pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes, may be preventive against the formation and the development of lung cancer. This study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that lycopene inhibited the growth of several cultured lung cancer cells

If you’re not a fan of tomatoes, other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, gac, and papayas also contain lycopene. Unfortunately, strawberries are not on that list.

3. Berries

Before you cry a tear for you berry friends, berries like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and basically any small, edible fruit have antioxidants.

Strawberries and raspberries, specifically are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and ellagic acid, which is a phytochemical. Many studies, including one published in Cancer Biology & Medicine Journal have found that In ellagic acid contains anticancer properties that supercharge enzymes, causing them to destroy cancer-causing substances, as well as slow tumor growth.

4. Broccoli

Your mom always told you to eat your broccoli, and you really should have listened to her. And if you didn’t, now is a good time to heed that advice.

This tree-resembling vegetable contains high levels of total phenolics and antioxidants that have been shown to have anticancer properties. However, don’t just eat the florets. Research conducted by the Preventative Nutrition and Food Science Journal found that broccoli leaves and stems contain high levels of total phenolics — even more so than the florets.

That’s not all. This study also found that you don’t need to wait until the broccoli is fully grown to enjoy the anticancer benefits. As it turns out, early-maturing broccoli (broccoli sprouts) also have many phenolics and antioxidants.

5. Carrots

One of the easiest vegetables to find year round is carrots. And it’s a great thing they are because these root vegetables are full of disease-fighting nutrients. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that have been shown to protect cell membranes from toxin damage, as well as slow the growth of cancer cells.

In fact, a woman by the name of Ann Cameron drank the juice of 5 pounds of carrots after being diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and unrelated lung cancer, and said it alone cured her. She was given a prognosis of three years to live, and rather than undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation, Cameron drank her juice.

In a blog post, she wrote that eight weeks after starting the carrots, the tumors had stopped growing and were in fact, shrinking. At four months, all the lymph nodes in her  lungs had returned to normal. And at eight months, there was no sign of cancer anywhere in her body.

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