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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Coffee has been found to reverse liver damage caused by alcohol.
  • The brain naturally craves 4 things: Food, Sex, Water and Sleep.
  • Studies show that by eating a big breakfast, you won’t feel as hungry the rest of the day, which can lead to more nutritional food choices.
  • 70% of people pretend to be okay simply because they don’t want to annoy others with their problems.
Tomatoes
Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles only 8 times.
  • Self-discipline better predicts success than IQ, according to research.
  • Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. This is mostly due to the hormonal changes that women often experience.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact
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12 Foods That Supercharge Your Brain

August 4, 2013  by: True Activist

Simply put, your brain likes to eat. And it likes powerful fuel: quality fats, antioxidants, and small, steady amounts of the best carbs. The path to a bigger, better brain is loaded with Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and fiber. Give your brain a kick start: eat the following foods on a daily or weekly basis for results you will notice.

1. Avocado

Start each day with a mix of high-quality protein and beneficial fats to build the foundation for an energized day. Avocado with scrambled eggs provides both, and the monounsaturated fat helps blood circulate better, which is essential for optimal brain function. Worst alternative: a trans-fat-filled, sugar-laden cream cheese Danish.

Green it: you don’t need to buy an organic avocado – conventional is fine. But make sure your supplementary protein is free range, cage free, or organic.

2. Blueberries

These delicious berries are one of the best foods for you, period, but they’re very good for your brain as well. Since they’re high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, they are safe for diabetics and they do not spike blood sugar. Blueberries are possibly the best brain food on earth: they have been linked to reduced risk for Alzheimer’s, shown to improve learning ability and motor skills in rats, and they are one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you can eat. Avoid: dried, sweetened blueberries.

Green it: buy local and organic, and be mindful of seasonality. When blueberries are out of season, opt for cranberries, grapes, goji berries, blackberries or cherries to get your brain boost.

3. Wild Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your brain. These beneficial fats are linked to improved cognition and alertness, reduced risk of degenerative mental disease (such as dementia), improved memory, improved mood, and reduced depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. Wild salmon is a premium source, but we’ll highlight a few other sources on this list for vegetarians and people who just don’t like salmon. Avoid farmed (read: sea lice infested) salmon.

Green it: the California salmon stock is threatened, so choose wild Alaskan salmon only, and eat small portions no more than twice a week.

4. Nuts

Nuts contain protein, high amounts of fiber, and they are rich in beneficial fats. For getting an immediate energy boost that won’t turn into a spike later, you can’t do better than nuts. The complex carbs will perk you up while the fat and protein will sustain you. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is essential to cognitive function. You don’t have to eat raw, plain, unsalted nuts, but do avoid the ones with a lot of sweetening or seasoning blends. Filberts, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts are great choices, with almonds being the king of nuts.

For those avoiding carbs, macadamia nuts are much higher in fat than most nuts. By the way, peanuts just aren’t ideal. Aside from the fact that many people are allergic, peanuts have less healthy fat than many other types of nuts…maybe that’s because peanuts are not actually a nut! They’re still much better than a candy bar, however.

Green it: try to choose organic, raw nuts, and if you can’t get those, at least avoid the tins of heavily-seasoned, preservative-laden nuts that may have taken many food miles to get to your mouth.

5. Seeds

Try sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and tahini (a tangy, nutty sesame butter that tastes great in replacement of mayo and salad dressing). Seeds contain a lot of protein, beneficial fat, and vitamin E, as well as stress-fighting antioxidants and important brain-boosting minerals like magnesium.

Green it: Again, just look for organic and try to avoid the highly-seasoned, processed options. In general, things like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are pretty low-impact, environmentally speaking, in comparison to meats and cheeses.



6. Pomegranate

Opt for the fruit over the juice so you get more fiber. Pomegranates contain blueberry-like levels of antioxidants, which are essential for a healthy brain. Your brain is the first organ to feel the effects of stress, so anything you can do to offset stress is a smart choice.

Green it: pomegranates are seasonal and not generally local for most of us, so enjoy sparingly and rely on other berries like acai, grapes and cherries when you can’t get this fruit.

7. Garlic

Garlic – the fresher the better – is one of the most potent nutritional weapons in your arsenal. Eat it as much as your significant other can stand. Not only is it fabulous for reducing bad cholesterol and strengthening your cardiovascular system, it exerts a protective antioxidant effect on the brain.

It makes life easier, but don’t even think about buying the chopped or peeled garlic. Nutritional benefits = zero.

Green it: just choose organic, and go for local if you can get it.

8. Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, chard, romaine, arugula, lolla rossa – whatever green you like, eat it daily. Green, leafy vegetables are high in iron (slightly less “green” iron sources include beef, pork and lamb). Americans tend to be deficient in iron, which is too bad, because the deficiency is linked to restless leg syndrome, fatigue, poor mood, foggy thinking, and other cognition issues.

Green it: choose organic, and shop at your farmers’ market or order from a local CSA. Leave out the red meat a few days a week and rely on a big, well-seasoned green stir fry or salad.

9. Cacao nibs

Cacao nibs are among the top five most powerful brain foods, right next to wild salmon and blueberries.

Green it: as long as it’s fair trade and organic, it’s green.

10. Tomatoes

Go figure, but tomatoes don’t usually make the brain-boosting food lists. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is particularly good for your brain – it even helps prevent dementia. You have to cook tomatoes to get the lycopene. But this does mean that ketchup is good for your brain. Although because of the sugar in it, you should look to other sources for most of your lycopene intake, such as fresh tomato sauce.

Green it: try to eat tomatoes that are local and get your lycopene in vitamin form when tomatoes aren’t in season. You’ll know when that is – the tomatoes will be pale, tasteless, and pithy.

11. Olive Oil

Though we know the brain does need a small, steady supply of glucose, don’t overlook fat. Studies have consistently shown that a low-fat diet is not the health boon we hoped it would be (remember the 90s low-fat craze?). In fact, avoiding fat can increase foggy thinking, mood swings, and insomnia. A diet rich in healthy fats is essential to clear thinking, good memory, and a balanced mood. Your brain is made of fat, after all.

One study of men found that those who relied on the processed vegetable fats found in salad dressings, snacks and prepared foods had 75% higher rates of mental degradation (dementia, memory loss) than men who ate healthy fats. Most processed foods and fast foods use corn oil, palm oil, soybean oil and other Omega-6 fats. You don’t want Omega 6 fats. Even saturated fat is safer than Omega 6’s.

Choose healthy fats such as those present in olive oil, nut butters, nuts and seeds, flax, oily fish, and avocados. Avoid processed fats found in pastries, chips, candy bars, snacks, junk food, fried foods and prepared foods. Eating the wrong fat can literally alter your brain’s communication pathways.

Green it: look for organic, local, or farmers’ market options when it comes to your food. You should also explore herbal remedies for mood swings and brain health.

12. Tea

You have to brew tea fresh or you won’t get the benefits of all those catechines (antioxidants) that boost your brain. Because tea has caffeine, don’t have more than 2-3 cups daily.

Green it: buy organic, fair trade loose leaf or packets to support sustainable business practices.

Sources :
http://preventdisease.com/news/13/080413_12-Foods-That-Supercharge-Your-Brain.shtml
www.trueactivist.com


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5 Foods to Help Fight Spring Allergies

It’s springtime — the season of runny noses and itchy eyes. Consider adding these foods to your diet to lessen your irritating symptoms.
By Alexandra Sifferlin   March 29, 2012

Nuts

When it comes to keeping the sniffles of seasonal allergies at bay, maintaining a healthy diet is one of your first lines of defense, says Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “The best way to manage allergies is first and foremost to work with your doctor to get you on the best treatments out there. The sad news is there is no cure. A seasonal allergy is a genetic disease of the immune system. But even before you think about medications, it is really critical that you go into allergy season with a healthy diet,” says Tringale.

Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3s can ease seasonal allergy suffering. A 2007 study found that children from the Greek island of Crete who ate a Mediterranean diet — high in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, and nuts — were less likely to develop allergy and asthma symptoms. “Allergies cause inflammation of the tissues lining the nose and throat. Finding foods that decrease inflammation will lead to relief,” Tringale says.

Nuts are one good choice. They’re a healthy snack and are high in magnesium and vitamin E. Magnesium protects against the wheezing that accompanies asthma, and vitamin E boosts immunity while simultaneously protecting the body from free radicals, which cause tissue damage and inflammation. “Most tree nuts, like walnuts and pecans, do the trick. Nuts also come with a lot of fat,” however, cautions Tringale, so don’t go overboard, especially if you’re battling your weight.


Apples

An apple a day helps keep your allergies away. In the Crete diet study, researchers found that people whose diets incorporated apples as a staple had greater protection against both allergies and asthma. Apples are rich in quercetin — a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. Much of the benefits come from the peels, which are also packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which prevent cellular damage.

Another 2007 study found that pregnant women who ate apples reduced the risk of their children developing asthma. Researchers looked at the eating habits of women during pregnancy and, later, their children’s reported allergies. Kids whose moms ate the most apples during pregnancy were less likely to report wheezing or to have doctor-confirmed asthma at age 5, compared with kids whose moms ate few apples.

Snacking regularly on apples, or other healthful foods high in antioxidants, may help prevent wheezing in adolescence too. Dr. Jane Burns of the Harvard School of Public Health studied the relationship between poor diet and respiratory symptoms and said in a statement, “Our study, as well as other research, suggests that higher intakes of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micronutrients are associated with lower reports of cough, respiratory infections, and less severe asthma-related symptoms.”



Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system — and most allergies happen when your immune system is out of whack, according to Dr. William Sears, author of the upcoming book, The Omega-3 Effect.

“If you were to come into my office with seasonal allergies and say to me, ‘Dr. Bill, I would like the best and safest medicine for my allergies,’ I would surprise you by scribbling on prescription pad, ‘Eat 6 ounces of Alaskan salmon twice a week,’” says Dr. Sears.

According to Dr. Sears, patients frequently complain about dry skin and eczema during the allergy season, and fish can alleviate those irritations. “All the ‘itises’ — dermatitis, bronchitis, arthritis, colitis — all of them are made better by the more seafood you eat,” says Dr. Sears. “Because omega-3s have total anti-inflammatory effects, sometimes people will notice that when I treat them with fish, their skin is softer and their asthma is better.”

In the same  2007 study looking at pregnant women and apple consumption, researchers found that moms who ate fish during pregnancy reduced the risk of their children developing asthma or allergic diseases. The kids whose moms ate fish one or more times a week were less likely to have eczema than children of mothers who never ate fish.

Dr. Sears’ top 3 fish picks:

  1. Wild Alaskan salmon: “This is my top pick because it has the most nutrients, with the least amount of pollutants, that are best for allergies,” he says.
  2. Alaskan tuna: Dr. Sears recommends Alaskan seafood because it is well policed and regulated. (Tuna is high in mercury, however, which means that certain at-risk groups, like pregnant women and children should limit consumption.)
  3. Anchovies and sardines

If you’re not a fish fan, you can try omega-3 and algae supplements or fish oil to boost your allergy defenses.


Red Grapes

The skin of red grapes is high in antioxidants and resveratrol — an anti-inflammatory compound. Eating foods high in antioxidants can reduce inflammation in your entire body. According to Tringale, antioxidants protect cells from the oxidative damage that causes diseases, and they have immune-boosting compounds. Other foods high in antioxidants include berries, legumes and potatoes. “Vegetarians are in good luck,” says Tringale.

WebMD reports that grapes contain flavonoids that can also lower the bad cholesterol levels and relax blood vessels. Grape leaves are also known to reduce inflammation and draw tissues together. When choosing grapes, go for the red variety — they have more antioxidants than white or blush grapes.


Tomatoes

“Fruity vegetables” like tomatoes are high in vitamin C and a good choice for the sneezing season. Studies show tomatoes can build your tolerance against asthma and respiratory issues. Vitamin C is an immune system booster and natural antihistamine, which suppresses swelling.

The antioxidant compound lycopene in tomatoes is also good for the body. A study from the University of Tel Aviv found that men who added 30 milligrams of lycopene to their daily diets improved their bodies’ ability to fight off asthma attacks by 45%. You can get lycopene not only from whole tomatoes, but also from tomato sauce and extract. “The added protection may come from lycopene’s antioxidative properties within the body,” study author Dr. A. Ben-Amotz, told ABC News.

Other “fruity vegetables,” aside from tomatoes, are also key: in a seven-year Spanish study, children who consumed more than 40 grams of fruity veggies a day — including eggplants, cucumber, green beans and zucchini — were much less likely to suffer from childhood asthma than those who ate less.

source: Time.com


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Vitamin-packed foods help you fight disease

MCCLATCHY / TIMES COLONIST    JANUARY 25, 2013
BARBARA QUINN            The Monterey County Herald

“A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill, if you don’t eat it,” said Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.

He understood what we now know: Deficiencies of vitamins and other vital nutrients can cause us to fall prey to illness.

So do our food choices really influence how susceptible we are to sickness? You bet your sweet pepper they do.

Specific nutrients in foods have been shown to enhance the body’s ability to keep us well. Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other nutrition experts:

=> Protein: It’s what immune cells are made of. Sources of immune-building protein include lean beef, pork and poultry, fish, eggs, beans and soy-based foods.

=> Vitamin A: Ever wonder why moms used to dose their darlings with cod liver oil to keep them healthy? Among other components, cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin A — a nutrient that helps maintain the cells that line our intestines and lungs. These “mucosal” cells are the sentries that guard our body from foreign invaders.

Carrots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers are good sources of vitamin A (or beta-carotene which safely converts to vitamin A in the body.)


=> Vitamin C: Although scientists still don’t understand the exact way that vitamin C works to boost immune function, we do know this essential vitamin plays an important role in healing wounds and strengthening our resistance to disease. Vitamin C also helps form antibodies that fight off infection.

Since this essential nutrient is easily destroyed by air, heat and prolonged storage, we are smart to eat at least one high vitamin C food each day.

Sources include oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

=> Zinc: Like an army that relies on a continual renewal of supplies and soldiers, our immune system relies on zinc to consistently renew disease-fighting cells. And since zinc in food is bound to protein, it makes sense that good sources include oysters, beef, pork, and liver as well as whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Interestingly, zinc has been called “the essential toxin” because — although it is required for optimal health — excessive intake can actually impair immune function.

=> Vitamin E: Given its antioxidant ability to neutralize free radicals, vitamin E keeps the machinery of the immune system functioning at capacity. Good sources include nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Wheat germ is an especially good source of vitamin E.

What about supplements of vitamins and minerals? If we don’t happen to eat a varied diet for any reason, we could be missing out on essential vitamins and trace minerals that could compromise our ability to ward off sickness, say nutrition experts.

Whether or not to take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement is a discussion worth having with your health provider.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
Email her at bquinn@chomp.org.


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Tomatoes may help reduce stroke risk

October 8th, 2012

Eating tomatoes in your daily salad or regularly enjoying a healthy red sauce on your spaghetti could help reduce your risk of stroke, according to research published this week in the journal Neurology. 

Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant that is good for brain health, the researchers say, and cooked tomatoes seem to offer more protection than raw.   

“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” says study author Jouni Karppi, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “A diet containing tomatoes… a few times a week would be good for our health. However, daily intake of tomatoes may give better protection.” 

Karppi says it’s the chemical lycopene that gives tomatoes and other fruits/vegetables their rich red color, that is helping to protect the brain. Tomatoes are particularly high in the powerful antioxidant that acts like a sponge, soaking up rogue molecules called free radicals that if left unchecked can damage cells. 

The study

Researchers tested the level of lycopene in the blood of more than 1,000 Finnish men aged 46 to 65, starting in 1991. Scientists then followed the men on average for more than a decade to record the number who had strokes.

The scientists found that those with the highest levels of lycopene were 55% less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest amounts in their blood. 

Caveats

Though the study looks promising, experts say that we can’t necessarily give all of the credit to lycopene. 

“It’s a compelling study and it fits with other data that we have about risk of stroke and vegetable and fruit consumption,” explains Dr. Daniel Labovitz, director of the Stern Stroke Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “But it’s not proof that if you eat tomatoes you’re going to have less risk of stroke.”  

Labovitz also points out that the group of men who had fewer strokes were younger, had lower blood pressure and smoked less than the group more prone to stroke. Though the researchers tried to take these lifestyle factors into account when calculating their findings, it may be that these things influenced the outcomes. 

In other words, perhaps better health habits – not necessarily just the lycopene – lead to fewer strokes.



More on lycopene

Lycopene has attracted a lot of attention in recent years because it’s such a powerful antioxidant. If we don’t eat enough lycopene-packed foods, experts suspect too many free radicals get left in the body, damaging blood vessels by helping to form fatty deposits. When these deposits build up, a blockage forms. If that vessel is in the brain, the blockage can cause a stroke.   

But the foods we eat are complex and filled with many nutrients, making it tough to prove what is really providing benefits.

“Eating tomatoes is a good thing, but we don’t know if there is really anything unique about tomatoes apart from other fruits and vegetables that reduce stroke risk,” explains Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.    

Tomatoes could contribute to reducing stroke in other ways, Willett says, because they are a good source of potassium, which is known to reduce blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is major risk factor for stroke.     

Take home message

So are lycopene packed tomatoes really the magic fruit? It seems the jury is still out, but researchers suggest we eat healthy as they continue to search for answers.   

“This is one more reason to consume fruits and vegetables – at least 5 a day – and it’s good to include tomatoes in that mix,” Willett said.

Post by: Leslie Wade – CNN Medical Producer

source: cnn.com


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Tomatoes May Lower Your Risk for Stroke

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Oct. 8, 2012 – Men who eat lots of tomatoes and tomato-based products may have a lower risk for stroke, a new study suggests.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
Men who had the highest levels of lycopene in their blood were 55% less likely to have a stroke, compared with men who had the lowest levels of the antioxidant in their blood.
The lowered risk was even greater for strokes caused by blood clots in the brain, called ischemic strokes. These are the most common type of stroke. Men who had the highest lycopene levels were 59% less likely to have this kind of stroke than men with the lowest levels. The findings appear in the Oct. 9, 2012, issue of Neurology.
The new study included slightly more than 1,000 men from Finland aged 46 to 65. Researchers measured the level of lycopene in their blood when the study began and followed the men for about 12 years. During that time, 67 men had a stroke.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” says researcher Jouni Karppi, PhD, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
Other studies have shown that high lycopene levels may be linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers. Cooked tomatoes tend to have a greater effect on blood levels of lycopene than raw tomatoes or tomato juice. Tomatoes are not the only food that is rich in this antioxidant. Other sources include pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava.

Healthy Diet Lowers Stroke Risk

“Lycopene seems to have some beneficial effects when in the form of fruits and vegetables,” says Deepak Bhatt, MD. He is the director of the Integrated Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The benefits likely only apply to whole foods – not individual supplements of lycopene. “‘Eat more fruits and vegetables to reduce your risk of stroke’ is a safe conclusion,” he says. The new study only included men, but the same benefits likely extend to women.
Although eating more vegetables is good advice, the study looked at lycopene levels in blood, not at how many tomatoes the men ate, says Daniel Labovitz, MD. He is the director of the Stern Stroke Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
What’s more, the study just showed a link. It was not designed to say whether or not eating more tomatoes can lower stroke risk. “There is no reason to think that tomatoes are bad, but we haven’t proven that they are special either,” he says.
One of the best ways to lower stroke risk is to eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, and to exercise regularly. “Lifestyle changes are better than any pill we can prescribe.”
Rafael Ortiz, MD, is less cautious in his interpretation of the study. “I would definitely recommend an increased intake of fruits and vegetables – especially tomatoes to decrease your chances of stroke,” he says. He is the director of the Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
The study also shows that smokers tended to have the lowest blood levels of lycopene. Smoking is a major risk factor for stroke.
SOURCES: Daniel Labovitz, MD, director, Stern Stroke Center, Montefiore Medical Center. Deepak Bhatt, MD, director, integrated cardiovascular intervention program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. Rafael Ortiz, MD, director, Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City. Karppi, K. Neurology, 2012. American Cancer Society: “Lycopene.”

source: WebMD    medicinenet.com


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Cancer Fighting Foods/Spices

The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. What you eat can hurt you, but it can also help you. Many of the common foods found in grocery stores or organic markets contain cancer-fighting properties, from the antioxidants that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to the powerful phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to explore. There isn’t a single element in a particular food that does all the work: The best thing to do is eat a variety of foods. 

The following foods have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size.

Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists also believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), as well as other sources of liver damage.

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety. Broccoli, especially sprouts, also have the phytochemical sulforaphane, a product of glucoraphanin – believed to aid in preventing some types of cancer, like colon and rectal cancer. Sulforaphane induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens. The enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors in laboratory animals.  However, be aware that the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found a 30-fold difference in the amounts of glucoraphanin. It appears that the more bitter the broccoli is, the more glucoraphanin it has. Broccoli sprouts have been developed under the trade name BroccoSprouts that have a consistent level of sulforaphane – as much as 20 times higher than the levels found in mature heads of broccoli. 

Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities – 2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer.  In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explained that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol. This substance is a polyacethylen, however, so it is important not to cook the carrots.

Chili peppers and jalapenos contain a chemical, capsaicin, which may neutralize certain cancer-causing substances (nitrosamines) and may help prevent cancers such as stomach cancer. 

Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin that may help decrease prostate and other cancers. 

Figs apparently have a derivative of benzaldehyde. It has been reported that investigators at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Tokyo say benzaldehyde is highly effective at shrinking tumors, though I haven’t seen this report. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says figs, which contain vitamins A and C, and calcium, magnesium and potassium, may curtail appetite and improve weight-loss efforts. Fig juice is also a potent bacteria killer in test-tube studies.

Flax contains lignans, which may have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. Flax is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to protect against colon cancer and heart disease. See Budwig diet for a specialized diet using flax seed oil and cottage cheese. For studies about flax seed and flax oil, go to our Important News or Archives Page.

Garlic has immune-enhancing allium compounds (dialyl sultides) that appear to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer causing substances. These substances also help block carcinogens from entering cells and slow tumor development. Diallyl sulfide, a component of garlic oil, has also been shown to render carcinogens in the liver inactive. Studies have linked garlic — as well as onions, leeks, and chives — to lower risk of stomach and colon cancer. Dr. Lenore Arab, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the UNC-CH (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) schools of public health and medicine and colleagues analyzed a number of studies and reported their findings in the October 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the report, people who consume raw or cooked garlic regularly face about half the risk of stomach cancer and two-thirds the risk of colorectal cancer as people who eat little or none. Their studies didn’t show garlic supplements had the same effect. It is believed garlic may help prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there.

Grapefruits, like oranges and other citrus fruits, contain monoterpenes, believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body. Some studies show that grapefruit may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells in vitro. They also contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid.

Grapes, red contain bioflavonoids, powerful antioxidants that work as cancer preventives. Grapes are also a rich source of resveratrol, which inhibits the enzymes that can stimulate cancer-cell growth and suppress immune response. They also contain ellagic acid, a compound that blocks enzymes that are necessary for cancer cells – this appears to help slow the growth of tumors.

Studies show that consumption of green and yellow leafy vegetables has been associated with lower levels of stomach cancer.

Kale has indoles, nitrogen compounds which may help stop the conversion of certain lesions to cancerous cells in estrogen-sensitive tissues. In addition, isothiocyanates, phytochemicals found in kale, are thought to suppress tumor growth and block cancer-causing substances from reaching their targets.

Licorice root has a chemical, glycyrrhizin, that blocks a component of testosterone and therefore may help prevent the growth of prostate cancer. However, excessive amounts can lead to elevated blood pressure.


Mushrooms – There are a number of mushrooms that appear to help the body fight cancer and build the immune system – Shiitake, maitake, reishi, Agaricus blazei Murill, and Coriolus Versicolor.  These mushrooms contain polysaccharides, especially  Lentinan, powerful compounds that help in building immunity. They are a source of Beta Glucan. They also have a protein called lectin, which attacks cancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying. They also contain Thioproline. These mushrooms can stimulate the production of interferon in the body.

Extracts from mushrooms have been successfully tested in recent years in Japan as an adjunct to chemotherapy. PSK is made from the Coriolus Versicolor. Maitake mushroom extract is PCM4.
Nuts contain the antioxidants quercetin and campferol that may suppress the growth of cancers. Brazil nut contains 80 micrograms of selenium, which is important for those with prostate cancer. (Note: Many people are allergic to the proteins in nuts, so if you have any symptoms such as itchy mouth, tight throat, wheezing, etc. after eating nuts, stop. Consider taking a selenium supplement instead or work with someone on how to eliminate this allergy.)

Oranges and lemons contain Iimonene which stimulates cancer-killing immune cells (lymphocytes, e.g.) that may also break down cancer-causing substances.

Papayas have vitamin C that works as an antioxidant and may also reduce absorption of cancer-causing nitrosamines from the soil or processed foods. Papaya contains folacin (also known as folic acid), which has been shown to minimize cervical dysplasia and certain cancers.

Raspberries contain many vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants known as anthocyanins that may protect against cancer. According to a recent research study reported by Cancer Research 2001;61:6112-6119, rats fed diets of 5% to 10% black raspberries saw the number of esophageal tumors decrease by 43% to 62%. A diet containing 5% black raspberries was more effective than a diet containing 10% black raspberries. Research reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in May 2002 shows black raspberries may also thwart colon cancerBlack raspberries are rich in antioxidants, thought to have even more cancer-preventing properties than blueberries and strawberries.

Red wine, even without alcohol, has polyphenols that may protect against various types of cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.  Also, researchers at the University of North Carolina’s medical school in Chapel Hill found the compound resveratrol, which is found in grape skins. It appears that resveratrol inhibits cell proliferation and can help prevent cancer. However, the findings didn’t extend to heavy imbibers, so it should be used in moderation. In addition, alcohol can be  toxic to the liver and to the nervous system, and many wines have sulfites, which may be harmful to your health. Note:  some research indicates that alcohol is considered a class “A” carcinogen which can actually cause cancer – seehttp://www.jrussellshealth.com/alccanc.html. You should probably switch to non-alcoholic wines.
Rosemary may help increase the activity of detoxification enzymes. An extract of rosemary, termed carnosol, has inhibited the development of both breast and skin tumors in animals. We haven’t found any studies done on humans. Rosemary can be used as a seasoning. It can also be consumed as a tea: Use 1 tsp. dried leaves per cup of hot water; steep for 15 minutes.

Seaweed and other sea vegetables contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin B12, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as chlorophylones – important fatty acids that may help in the fight against breast cancer. Many sea vegetables also have high concentrations of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine.

Soy products like tofu contain several types of phytoestrogens — weak, nonsteroidal estrogens that could help prevent both breast and prostate cancer by blocking and suppressing cancerous changes. There are a number of isoflavones in soy products, but research has shown that genistein is the most potent inhibitor of the growth and spread of cancerous cells. It appears to lower breast-cancer risk by inhibiting the growth of epithelial cells and new blood vessels that tumors require to flourish and is being scrutinized as a potential anti-cancer drug.  However, there are some precautions to consider when adding soy to your diet. Eating up to 4 or 5 ounces of tofu or other soy a day is probably ok, but research is being done to see if loading up on soy could cause hormone imbalances that stimulate cancer growth. As a precaution, women who have breast cancer or are at high risk should talk to their doctors before taking pure isoflavone powder and pills, extracted from soy.

Sweet potatoes contain many anticancer properties, including beta-carotene, which may protect DNA in the cell nucleus from cancer-causing chemicals outside the nuclear membrane.

Teas: Green Tea and Black tea contain certain antioxidants known as polyphenols (catechins) which appear to prevent cancer cells from dividing. Green tea is best, followed by our more common black tea (herbal teas do not show this benefit). According to a report in the July 2001 issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, these polyphenols that are abundant in green tea, red wine and olive oil, may protect against various types of cancer. Dry green tea leaves, which are about 40% polyphenols by weight, may also reduce the risk of cancer of the stomach, lung, colon, rectum, liver and pancreas, study findings have suggested.

Tapioca is derived from the cassava plant. It is one of the many plants that manufactures cyanide by producing a chemical called linamarine which releases hydrogen cyanide when it is broken down by the linamarase enzyme. Spanish researches have been studying the cassava and attempting to clone the genes from the plant which are responsible for producing the hydrogen cyanide and then transfer it to a retrovirus.  However, funding for the project has run out.http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_317000/317467.stm for more information on this. For a list of other foods that contain B17, go to our laetrile page.

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that attacks roaming oxygen molecules, known as free radicals, that are suspected of triggering cancer. It appears that the hotter the weather, the more lycopene tomatoes produce. They also have vitamin C, an antioxidant which can prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer. Watermelons, carrots, and red peppers also contain these substances, but in lesser quantities. It is concentrated by cooking tomatoes.  Scientists in Israel have shown that lycopene can kill mouth cancer cells. An increased intake of lycopene has already been linked to a reduced risk of breast, prostate, pancreas and colorectal cancer. (Note: Recent studies indicate that for proper absorption, the body also needs some oil along with lycopene.)

Tumeric (curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, is believed to have medicinal properties because it inhibits production of the inflammation-related enzyme cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2), levels of which are abnormally high in certain inflammatory diseases and cancers, especially bowel and colon cancer. In fact, a pharmaceutical company Phytopharm in the UK hopes to introduce a natural product, P54, that contains certain volatile oils, which greatly increase the potency of the turmeric spice. 

Turnips are said to contain glucose molaes which is a cancer fighting compound. I haven’t confirmed this.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with decreased risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.

There are many good books on this topic, including Vern Verona’s book on “Cancer Fighting Foods.”

source: cancure.org