(NaturalNews) An estimated one-third of cancer deaths could be related to diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. Eating processed, sugary foods with harmful additives like chemicals or even animal products with hormones is the norm for many people in developed nations. What people eat can truly kill them. However, eating whole, organic foods gives people access to powerful cancer-fighting substances. Antioxidants are known to neutralize free radicals, which are natural substances made in the human body and found in environmental pollutants that cause cell damage. Experts are exploring the benefits of phytochemicals as well. These healthy substances are found in abundance in plant foods and spices.
Studies on cruciferous vegetables indicate that these foods may help patients with colon or prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetables include all vegetables in the Brassicaceae family, such as bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and similar green leafy vegetables. According to Diet.com, cruciferous vegetables may decrease risk of prostate and other cancers.
One study found that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables decreased the risk of colon cancer. According to Cancer.gov, women who eat five servings of cruciferous vegetables weekly may be at less risk of lung cancer.
Red grapes contain three important substances to fight cancer. Red grapes have antioxidants called bioflavonoids that help to prevent cancer. They also have a high content of resveratrol, a substance that can inhibit enzymes known to stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Grapes also have a compound called ellagic acid that can block certain enzymes that cancer cells need. By blocking these enzymes, ellagic acid may slow tumor growth.
Ginger may kill cancer cells. Although not yet proven in human studies, ginger may cause a process called apoptosis that causes cancer cells to effectively kill themselves without causing damage to nearby healthy cells. Ginger is also linked to autophagy, which is when cancer cells are "tricked into digesting themselves," says J. Rebecca Liu of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Liu is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology who has been studying the effects of ginger on ovarian cancer cells.
Kale contains phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that may inhibit tumor growth. These chemicals may also stop substances that cause cancer from getting to their targets. Kale contains nitrogen compounds called indoles that can help prevent a conversion of certain lesions into cancer cells in estrogen-sensitive tissues.
Several types of mushrooms help to boost the immune system and may aid the body in its fight against cancer. These mushrooms include:
Agaricus blazei Murill
Within these mushrooms are compounds called polysaccharides that assists in building immunity. Mushrooms also contain lectin, a protein that fights cancer cells and keeps them from multiplying. Mushrooms also contain beta glucan and thioproline.
Nuts may be beneficial for cancer patients because they have antioxidants including kaempferol and quercetin. These antioxidants can suppress cancer growth. Brazil nuts in particular can help people with prostate cancer because of the high content of selenium.
Researchers at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Tokyo report that benzaldehyde, a derivative of figs, is very effective at shrinking tumors.
Any and all of these foods can help people combat cancer either by directly interfering with cancerous cells and growth, or by strengthening the body's defenses to enable the body to fight off cancer itself. Diet modifications may not be a cancer cure, but they can assist other natural cancer treatments. Eating a variety of these foods as well as other cancer-fighting foods or supplements may also prevent cancer.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.