Can what you eat protect you against cancer?
Could you protect yourself against cancer by choosing wisely what you put on your plate?
This is the question posed today in the Irish Times Health supplement. As we are only too aware, there is so much information out there about cancer beating foods, but how much of it is really accurate?
According to consultant surgeon John Reynolds, professor of surgery at Trinity College Dublin and St James’s Hospital, “…if you go looking for information on using food to prevent cancer, many popular books and programmes make scientifically unvalidated claims, he cautions. “There’s a huge amount of nonsense out there that’s based on no science, pseudoscience or wrong interpretation of the existing science.”
So where is the good science? “Societies that eat a lot of fat and a lot of red meat, we know they are the societies where there is a lot of breast, prostate and colon cancer and a certain type of oesophageal cancer, and societies that don’t eat a lot of red meat and fat have lower rates of those cancers,” Reynolds says.
Overall, the emerging substantiated links between diet and cancer should be taken on board, according to Reynolds. “There’s something there – it would be foolish to ignore it and also foolish to overinterpret it,” he says.
Anti-cancer foods: how they work
Scientific studies suggest that particular compounds occurring naturally in foods could help prevent or fight cancer. So what should be on the shopping list?
- Cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts): They may not always be the children’s favourite, but the crucifers pack a punch of glucosinolates, which break down in the body to form anti-cancer molecules. Broccoli in particular provides sulphoraphane, which has been shown in the lab to trigger death in cancer cells. Source fresh vegetables, cook lightly and chew well.
- Turmeric: The spice turmeric, which has been consumed for thousands of years, contains the compound curcumin, which appears to have anti-inflammatory effects and has also been shown to kill cancer cells in the lab. Eat black pepper at the same time, as it improves your ability to absorb curcumin.
- Green tea: Green tea is a source of catechins, compounds that have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the lab and could help block tumours from building up a blood supply in the body.
Information sourced from Foods to Fight Cancer by Prof Richard Béliveau and Dr Denis Gingras
Adapted from Irish Times Health. To read article in full click here
good ot read this balanced article today
Thanks for this article…now to find some recipes with tumeric. I don’t believe I have ever used this spice before. Interestingly side note, my youngest daughter (14) told me tonight that her friend told her that wearing a bra to bed causes breast cancer. I quickly explained that I have never wore a bra to bed and I got cancer…thanks again!
Hi Kim, I just add a dash of it to soups, casseroles, curries – it isn’t a strong taste, so no one even notices I have added it.
Thanks for the hints…I will start adding it…
Thanks for the info…I will be adding it to the dishes I cook.
Oh and I am shocked to hear such misinformation is still going on out there! We obviously still have a ways to go to dispell these myths which obscure the real truths…and I never wore wear a bra to bed either!
Yes, it is easy to add turmeric in the way that JBBC has said – it’s exactly what I do too 🙂
thanks for posting – you have inspired me to stock up on my cruciferous veggies! Not a huge fan but I can see how important they are. Maybe you would post some recipes in your meat free monday slot featuring some of these ingredients?
Pingback: What causes cancer? « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer
Perfect timing! I’ve been obsessed lately with finding beneficial foods. I’ve been sloppy lately (forever) and it’s time to clean up my diet. Thank you!
Pingback: For maximum health benefits, pick your veggies wisely « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer