Studies estimate that at least one-third of all cancer deaths in the U.S.--and up to 80 percent of cancers of the large bowel, breast, and prostate--are due to dietary factors. Since you are in control of what you put in your mouth, you can significantly influence your overall health, as well as reduce you risk of cancer.
More than 572,000 Americans die of cancer each year. But instead of freaking out, sticking your head in the sand, or escaping into a pint of Mint Chocolate Chip, you can focus on the fact that you have the power potentially to prevent most forms of cancer.
Mother Nature Knows Best
Cancer cells need a blood supply to grow and be destructive, but certain foods are able to essentially cut off this blood supply. The good news is that you don't have to hike to the top of the Himalayas, or venture deep into the rain forest to find these cancer-fighting miracle foods. All you have to do is head to the nearest grocery store.
Your Anti-Cancer Shopping List
Many cancer-fighting foods are inexpensive, and may already be part of your daily diet. To make sure you're including these foods, we've highlighted the specific items to add to your grocery list as suggested in a recent episode of Dr. Oz. The bottom line is that preventing cancer is in your hands, so start making healthy lifestyle choices with smart grocery store selections.
Common Cancer-Fighting Foods
- Blueberries - Help prevent cancers from the mouth to the colon, and everywhere in between.
- Bananas - ½ a banana a day helps prevent breast cancer.
- Tangerines (or clementines) - Helps prevent esophageal cancer. Aim for 2 glasses of fresh-squeezed juice a day. And since the cancer fighters are concentrated in the skin of the fruit, you can use a zester to add flavor to your food while getting the health benefits (Tip: use organic citrus if you are going to use the peel).
- Hard cheese - Hard cheeses such as Jarslberg and Gouda are made with a type of bacteria that produces a special form of Vitamin K that helps prevent lung cancer. Considering that 20 percent of women who get lung cancer have never smoked a single cigarette, we're all for getting a bit cheesy.
- Squash - Helps prevent Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Recommendation is 1 cup of cooked squash 2x/week. Try as a side dish with a sprinkle of cinnamon (a cancer-fighting spice).
- Arugula - Helps to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Good hot (in pasta), or cold (in salads).
- Squid (calamari) - Contains the healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent breast cancer (and is cheaper than salmon!). And don't start taking out your fryer. A much healthier option is to sauté pre-cleaned squid in a stainless pan, with a little bit of garlic and olive oil.
- Extra-virgin olive oil - Contains natural cancer-fighting substances called polyphenols. "Super olives" contain the highest concentration of polyphenols, and examples include the Picual olive (used in Spanish olive oil), the Moriaolo olive from Umbria, Italy, and the Greek Koroneiki olive. To find out if your olive oil comes from any of these healthy heroes, just look at the label!