Food has been defined as any substance which when taken in, gives energy to the body, helps it to grow and restores or maintains its cells. Since food has 3 extremely important functions to perform, your diet needs to be full of nutrients but at the same time, balanced with the right kind and amount. In other words, healthy food is the key to a healthy body, and ultimately a healthy brain.
However, there are some food items which are not only healthy for our body’s nourishment, but they also protect us from a number of harmful diseases. Among them, the most researched foods are those which are also the potent anti-cancerous agents. The following foods are scientifically proven to be effective against cancer.
1. Turmeric/ Curcumin
Amongst a variety of cancer preventing foods, turmeric is at the top of the list. It has currently the highest evidence-based proofs which support its use in the prevention of cancer. Not only turmeric itself but its metabolites i.e. curcumin and others that also have the same property. Moreover, without any kind of discrimination, turmeric can deal with almost all kinds of cancers; it can help in improving the condition of those people with drug-resistant carcinomas.
Turmeric helps in preventing cancer because of its ability to govern genetic activity. It can destroy the cancer cells by modifying genes, and helps in the production of newer, healthier ones by promoting gene expression.
Paprika is the 2nd most studied ingredient in the group of plants. It is a biologically active ingredient, which enhances the flavor of the food, and also acts in preventing and treating certain cancers.
Along with many other peppers i.e. jalapeno, cayenne pepper, and hot pepper, paprika, especially smoked paprika is a well studied and proven anticancerous agent. Smoked paprika reduces the incidence of cancer, and also helps in improving the condition of cancer patients. This is because it has the ability to cause the carcinogenic cells of the prostate to shrink and die. It can also modify the cellular genetics to slow down the growth of the tumors.
The protein which is known as PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), which is responsible for tumor growth, is also destroyed by smoked paprika. Moreover, Paprika is also proven to be useful in fighting leukemia and lung cancers.
Carotenoids are yellow/ orange colored components present naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are scientifically studied and theoretically proved to be beneficial in preventing the growth of proliferated cells. These substances can govern the genetic activity and modify or inhibit the development of tumors. Carotenoids are helpful in prevention and treatment of lungs, mouths, stomach, intestines and bladder.
However, carotenoids are relatively sensitive substances, which easily get destroyed with heat. Some preservation methods such as canning, freeze drying, vacuum sealing can also lower the carotenoid content of vegetables.
These are also naturally occurring, non-nutrient chemical components present naturally in fruits and vegetables. Their potent anti-carcinogenic properties are attributed to their antioxidant nature. Oxidative stress is one of the most common reasons for cancers. Those substances which can accept the free radical of oxygen making it less available to cause any bodily damage can prevent the incidence of cancers. Flavonoids act in the same way. Flavonoids are present in broccoli, onions, grapes, apples and berries.
5. Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeinated beverages i.e. tea/ coffee have long been the subject of discussion of whether they are useful or harmful for the body. However, the latest researches have provided sound evidence that caffeinated beverages have potent anti-oxidant activity. They can protect the body from free radical damage and ultimate production of cancerous cells.
Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages reduce the risks of oral cancers, skin cancers, endometrial cancers, prostate cancers, uterine cancer, colon cancers, breast cancers and brain cancers. Hence, coffee and tea can be safely added to the diet as healthy food. Just note that in everything moderation is key.
However, all these anti-cancerous agents are somehow sensitive and can be destroyed in some cooking procedures. For example, cookware used for glass top stoves is often made up of aluminum or have a Teflon coating. These substances when exposed to heat produce toxic fumes which can destroy these natural food substances. Hence, care should be taken to avoid the use of such cookware, so as to fully utilize the potential of these foods.
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