About 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year—that’s nearly 1,600 people per day, according to the American Cancer Society’s 2013 Facts & Figures report. As the second most common cause of death in the U.S. following heart disease, cancer accounts for one-out-of-every-four deaths. In recent years there has been strong evidence that shows a healthy diet, specifically a diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, when paired with daily exercise, can dramatically reduce cancer risk.
To get an inside look at which foods are serious cancer-fighting power players, we spoke with The Farm at San Benito’s medical doctor, Homer Lim, MD geriatrician, integrative medicine, who shared the top five cancer-fighting foods:
Broccoli and the Cruciferous Family
“The green flowers of broccoli contain indole-3-carbinol, [which] can prevent and kill breast cancer cells. Aside from broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage also contain sulforaphanes that are also excellent in keeping cancer cells at bay,” explains Dr. Lim.
SpaFinder® Wellness Recipe using broccoli: Super Food Recipe: Phyto-Full Forbidden Rice Salad
“Mangosteen is widely known as the fruit that has a tough peel,” says Dr. Lim. “However, its anti-cancer properties lie in the peri-carp, or the peel itself. Xanthones, the most widely researched antioxidant, has been shown to prevent cancer [and] reduce inflammation, as well as reverse age-related macular degeneration.”
According to Dr. Lim, this abundant fruit is underutilized in the fight against cancer. “[Papaya] enzymes papain and chymopapain can reduce inflammation, as well as reduce cancer cell growth.”
SpaFinder Wellness Recipe using papaya: Hydrating Spa Recipe: Eat Your Water with a Tropical Fruit Salad!
Dr. Lim calls kale the “underdog” of cruciferous greens and believes it deserves its own mention on the list. “[Kale] ranks [as] one of the highest in terms of its anti-cancer properties. Glucosinolates, aside from the sulforaphanes and carbinols, in this green leafy vegetable purify bloods [and] detoxify, as well as kill tumor cells.”
SpaFinder Wellness Recipe using kale: Autumn Kale Salad Recipe
Turmeric is “truly the KING of all the anti-cancer herbs and vegetables,” Dr. Lim continues. “Turmeric and its extract, curcumin, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.” However, anti-inflammatory benefits aside, what stands out about turmeric are its anti-cancer properties. “Curcumin acts on the cellular, chromosomal, cell division phase, DNA, as well as the genetic levels. This is perhaps the most perfect chemotherapy drug. The only hindrance is its absorption is less than 10 percent when taken orally. The best way to take turmeric is with oil,” explains Dr. Lim.
SpaFinder Wellness Recipe using turmeric: Detox Nation: Teas to Cleanse, Relieve, and Balance
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