October is breast cancer awareness month! There are many compounds within a variety of foods that have shown promise in preventing and battling cancers. Let’s look into a few:
Turmeric: the compound aromatic turmerone, is the active ingredient in turmeric and curcumin. It has helped fight cancer in mouse models and has been shown to halt tumor formation. Turmerone’s anti-inflammatory properties may be a key way to prevent inflammatory-based cancers, such as colon caner.
Aromatic turmerone can also inhibit enzyme activity and expression that promote breast cancer. It has also been shown to halt the migration and formation of breast cancer cells.
Lastly, aromatic turmerone can selectively kill leukemia cells when tested in a lab.
Bok choy: one of the most nutrient packed vegetables is bok choy. Full of vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting agents, phytonutrients, and anti-inflammatory compounds, it also reduces the risk of a variety of chronic diseases. Glucosinolates, a phytonutrient in bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables, have anti-cancer effects, released when the food is chewed and digested. These anti-cancer effects help protect cancer cells from DNA damage and inactivate carcinogens.
The cruciferous vegetable family, in fact, can lower the risk of several cancers including, breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate, when eaten several times a week.
Pumpkin seeds: these seeds are not only tasty snacks in the fall. They contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and help fight the growth of cancers. It’s the phytoestrogen extracts in pumpkin seeds that can play a role in breast cancer treatment and prevention. One study found that diets high in pumpkin seeds lead to a lower risk of cancers such as stomach, colorectal, breast, and lung.
Cashews: cashews are one of the healthiest nuts. They improve brain function, heart health, digestion, and can help you lose weight. Eating cashews also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. When it comes to cancer, cashews help fight the types that are in the digestive system like stomach, liver, and colon cancer. Research credits the phenolic compounds, tocopherols, with protecting us against DNA damage, the formation of cancerous tumors, and the mutation of cells.
These foods and many others, such as tomatoes, broccoli, and some types of mushrooms, all contribute to the prevention of and fight against cancer. Make it your goal to incorporate these nutrient dense foods into your diet!