What the heck is a “superfood”?

Superfood (n): A term used to describe food with high nutrient or phytochemical content that may confer health benefits, with few properties considered to be negative, such as being high in saturated fats or artificial ingredients, food additives or contaminants. (source: Wikipedia)

Although there is no official “superfoods” list, there are foods that are widely recognized as having superior health benefits such as quinoa, kale, goji berries, flax & chia seeds to name a few. When it comes to cancer specifically, many experts believe that incorporating certain ‘superfoods’ into your diet can help prevent tumors from starting and even halt their growth.

Below are a just a few superfoods that have shown to positively impact cancer – whether it be preventative or to halt tumor growth:

* Berries, Berries & More Berries. Blueberries contain the highest antioxidant level of all berries. The active ingredient in acai berries has shown to destroy cancer cells according to researchers at University of Florida. Cranberries have shown to make ovarian cancer tumors more sensitive and therefore more responsive to chemotherapy. Raspberries & strawberries have also shown to have good cancer fighting properties.

* Garlic, onions, leeks contain “allicim” which has shown to help reduce the risk of many common cancers. Additionally, according to the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of 7 different large-scale population studies showed that the more raw and cooked garlic a person consumed, the lower his risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. BTW, some experts say before using garlic, chop it up and let it be exposed to the air for a few minutes to release more allicin.

* Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy & brussels sprouts can help strengthen our bodies. Studies have shown that one of the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane – can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells.

* Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has shown to lower the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer. Cooking tomatoes seems to enhance the effects of lycopene so cook away. BTW, avoid tomatoes in tin cans (buy fresh or tomatoes in glass jars or paper containers). The linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A. When coupled with the acidity of tomatoes, a reaction results causing BPA to leach into our food.


* Apples Remember that old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well apparently there’s truth to this. Apples can suppress your appetite for weight control; lower cholesterol; and have anti-cancer benefits. According to Dr. William Li, President & Co-Founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples have twice as many cancer fighters as Fuji or Golden Delicious apples. For Dr. Li’s complete list of foods that anti-angiogenic foods or foods that cut off the blood supply to cancerous tumors, click here.

* Certain herbs and spices help boost our immune system and also have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporate curry, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, rosemary, chive & basil in to your diets. Curcumin, the spice that makes turmeric yellow, has shown to inhibit tumor growth but must be used with caution as it can make anti-cancer drugs less effective. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements including curcumin supplements.

* Apricots, barley, citrus fruit, fiber, figs, fish oil, fish, ginger, green tea, spinach, and seaweed also have shown the ability to slow tumor growth in various ways.

(sources: WebMD; Eat to Defeat; Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Caring.com)


About Robyn Stoller

Founder of CancerHawk.com, Robyn Stoller is a patient advocate and champion. Just last year she lost her 47-year-old husband Alan to cancer, but has put their journey to work for others. At each crossroad—from finding the best doctors with the right mentality to accessing obscure (and amazing!) resources—Robyn's gift for research, networking and tireless advocacy and a lot of luck led to just the right places. Now, Robyn’s mission is to help patients and caregivers touched by cancer find the information they need to make informed choices. To get straightforward answers to the questions you haven't yet asked with a dose of humility and humor, visit www.CancerHawk.com…the REAL deal for cancer patients & their caregivers.

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