According to the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures, 2011”, scientific evidence suggests that about one-third of the 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur in 2011 will be related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, or poor nutrition and thus could be prevented. This highlights three recommendations in regard to nutrition, physical activity, and cancer prevention:
- Maintain a healthy weight throughout life
- Adopt a physically active lifestyle
- Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant sources
Adopting a plant-based diet is a simple but powerful step toward cancer-prevention. Research specifically emphasizes the importance of increasing your intake of healthy fats, especially Omega 3 fatty acids, increasing fiber intake, eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables, and eating foods high in calcium and rich in antioxidants.
Not surprisingly, as one makes the switch to a balanced vegetarian diet, the above healthy habits naturally and simultaneously develop. Spotlight on Broccoli: A recent study by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University examines the important role of broccoli in cancer prevention. According to their research, “Sulforaphane, one of the primary phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that helps them prevent cancer, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.”
In a similar study by University of Illinois researchers, findings suggest that teaming broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable's anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful. Elizabeth Jeffery, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois, reminds us to take care in not overcooking our broccoli. "Steaming broccoli for two to four minutes is the perfect way to protect both the enzyme and the vegetable's nutrients." Jeffrey also notes that "The amount that you get in three to five servings a week--that's less than one daily serving of broccoli--is enough to have an anti-cancer effect.” Add broccoli to stir-fry, salads, casseroles, soups or snack on it raw, for a potent anti-cancer boost to your day!
Following are more fruits and vegetables that are especially noted for their anti-cancer properties. Most of the vegetables and many of the fruits are locally grown and are in abundance when in season. Make sure to get them locally for fresher and more nutritious value. Hang this list on the refrigerator as a reminder to everyone in your household to keep up their intake of these healthful foods.
|Anti-cancer vegetables||Anti-cancer fruits|
- American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Statistics.
- Oregon State University. “Study confirms safety, cancer-targeting ability of nutrient in broccoli.” 06.09.11.
- Picklesimer, Phyllis. “Sprouts? Supplements? Team them up to boost broccoli's cancer-fighting power.”
- Picklesimer, Phyllis. “Discovery May Help Scientists Boost Broccoli's Cancer-Fighting Power.”
- Cover story of the November 2010 issue of the new journal Food & Function (Vol. 1, pp. 162-167). Research funded by the USDA.