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Marcel's Site

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Vegetarianism

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Oriental Diet

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Oriental Diet Anti-Cancer foods

Anti-Cancer foods that cut your risk

Researchers at food labs have discovered a cornucopia of anti-cancer compounds that can step in at almost every treacherous twist of a cell's path toward malignancy. Some of the compounds prevent carcinogens from forming in the first place. Others boost enzymes in the body that flush out any cancer-causing substances that do form. Still other plant chemicals seem to prevent blood vessels from reaching small cancers, starving the wayward cells before they can grow into large tumors.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that mops up dangerous free radicals before they can cause mutations in DNA. Vitamin C can be found in many other items in the produce department, of course. But tomatoes also contain lycopene, which may explain a recent Italian study finding that people who ate raw tomatoes at least seven times a week halved their risk of several cancers, compared with those who ate tomatoes no more than once a week. Tomatoes are also rich in coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which hook onto nitric oxides in the foods we eat and spirit them out of the body before they can form cancer-causing nitrosamines.

Oranges and lemons. A substance called limonene raises the levels of naturally occurring enzymes thought to break down carcinogens and stimulate cancer-killing immune cells. Citrus fruits also contain glucarase, which inactivates carcinogens and speeds them out of the body.

Grapes. These fruits are loaded with ellagic acid, which blocks the body's production of enzymes used by cancer cells. Apples may get prime billing in folklore, but researchers say grapes are packed with healthful chemicals besides ellagic acid--such as phenols, antioxidants that may prevent blood clots. And a natural fungicide called resveratrol slows the buildup of "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Garlic and onions. In China's Shandong Province, people who eat large amounts of garlic and onions cut their risk of stomach cancer by as much as 40 percent. Closer to home, a study of more than 41,000 women in Iowa showed that those who added garlic to their menu as least once a week reduced their risk of colon cancer by 35 percent. Allium compounds, responsible for the distinctive tang in garlic and onions, increase levels of enzymes that break down potential carcinogens. Allium compounds may also boost the activity of cancer-fighting immune cells.

Chili peppers. Researchers started investigating the hot stuff in chili peppers, called capsicin, out of concern that it might cause cancer. But people in Mexico are relatively unlikely to develop stomach cancer, although they eat lots of chilies. It seems capsicin may neutralize the carcinogenic effect of nitrosamines. Capsicin may also block carcinogens in cigarette smoke from locking onto DNA--possibly preventing genetic damage that can lead to lung and other cancers. The hotter the pepper, the more capsicin it contains--so jalapeños are better than canned green chilies, and fiery Thai peppers are better still.

Soybeans. Soy is rich in a chemical called genistein, which fights cancer in several ways. Cancer cells in the breast and ovary is stimulated by estrogen--and genistein, an estrogen look-alike, can step in instead, plugging up receptors for the hormone. Genistein may also prevent small blood vessels from forming around cancer cells, cutting off oxygen and nutrients.

Broccoli and cabbage. Along with their cousins in the strong-tasting family of crucifers, these vegetables contain a treasure trove of cancer-fighting substances. Some boost the production of enzymes that defuse carcinogens and flush them out of the body.

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