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….Dark Chocolate makes the top 10 list!
As a Registered Dietitian it is amazing to know about the role food has to play in Cancer prevention. The experts in the field, especially those of the World Cancer Research Fund, suggest that a startling one third of cancers are linked to poor diet, generally characterized by a lack of plant based foods.
Eating a plant-based diet means filling half to three fourths of your plate with foods of plant origin- fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and is not a vegetarian diet, per se but can include the vegetarian lifestyle. While this diet is recommended for health in general, it is amazing to know about the power of functional foods against disease and how their unique vitamin +antioxidant packages provide something more then supplements alone!
Lets take a look at some of the cancer protective foods:
1. Seaweed: Marine algae has a protective affect against hormone based cancers, like breast cancer; but in addition to their anti-estrogenic properties, they also act directly on the cancer cells themselves.
2. Mushrooms: mushrooms contain “polysaccharides” – long chains of sugars, that are responsible for their anti cancer affect. This protective affect has been observed in many Japanese cities, whose population consumes lots of mushrooms.
3. Chocolate: 70% dark chocolate is a sweet and healthy treat to enjoy in moderation! It is a source of antioxidants – beneficial polyphenols and an even great hit of pleasure that is both heart disease and cancer protective!
4. Flaxseed: flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of developing breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
5. Herbs + Spices: Herbs and spices are high in anti-inflammatory molecules, and make it hard for cancer cells to exist.
6. Probiotics: interact with the digestive tract, proving a healthy immunity and defense to defend against outside aggressors.
7. Garlic family: “Allicin” a compound present in abundance in crushed garlic, actually helps eliminate “toxic” carcinogenic substances.
8. Berries: berries are packed with compounds (ellagic acid and anthocyanides) that block the activity of some cancers, and interfere with new blood vessels to be developed by the tumour.
9. Green Tea: of all foods, green tea contains the highest proportions of anti-cancer molecules called “catechins”. They help block new blood vessels from forming around cancer cells and also help prevent further growth of tumours.
10. Red Wine: Red wine is high in cancer protective chemicals called “phytochemicals” and resveratrol. They also have benefits towards heart health! Moderation is key.
Cooking with foods that fight cancer, Richard Beliveau, Ph.d. & Denis Gringras, Ph.d