Cancer is a condition in which cells in the body go haywire. These cells replicate and grow and in doing so prevent normal, healthy cells from proper growth and function. There are different types of cancer cells. According to Stanford Medicine, the stem cell theory of cancer suggests that cancers attack the body mainly through the action of cancer stem cells. These are a population of cancerous cells that are able to grow, renew, and reproduce themselves. Scientists are researching ways to target cancer stem cells. Meanwhile, you may be looking for ways to improve your diet to help protect your body against cancer stem cells.
10. Green Tea
Green tea has a long history in Chinese and Indian medicine as a treatment for ailments such as headaches, indigestion, and wound healing. The polyphenols in green tea are potent antioxidants that help prevent the body from cellular damage by free radicals in the bloodstream. The National Cancer Institute lists green tea as a food with antioxidant, cancer growth suppressing, and cholesterol-lowering properties. A warming mug of green tea may help prevent cancer stem cell growth while also providing relaxation and hydration.
9. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea provides even more health-boosting antioxidants than does loose leaf green tea. The matcha green tea consists of the entire green tea leaf ground into a fine powder. According to Matcha Source, one cup of matcha tea provides as many antioxidants as 10 cups of brewed green tea. Furthermore, matcha provides catechins, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Studies suggest that matcha green tea may inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells through several means. You can enjoy a steaming cup of matcha green tea or include it in a matcha green smoothie, iced latte, or iced tea.
8. Purple Potatoes
The antioxidants that give purple potatoes their colorful hue may also impart health benefits that include fighting cancer stem cells. According to Organic Facts, purple potatoes contain four times as many antioxidants as their white counterparts. These potatoes are also packed with fiber, protein, potassium, and vitamin C. Furthermore, animal studies reported in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggest that the anthocyanins in purple potatoes may prevent the growth of colon cancer stem cells. Less waxy than white potatoes, purple potatoes have a savory, earthy flavor. You can enjoy their antioxidant benefits by cooking them the way you cook white potatoes.
Nuts, including walnuts, have health benefits that include providing healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, animal studies suggest that consuming walnuts may offer protection against breast, prostate, colon, and kidney cancers. A study in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice suggests that walnut extracts may interfere with telomerase in colon cancer stem cells. Telomerase is responsible for a cell’s ability to grow and reproduce. Adding a handful of chopped walnuts to a bowl of oatmeal or a leafy green salad can help you take advantage of these cancer-fighting properties.
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) provides many great health benefits. EVOO is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which may reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. Furthermore, EVOO is packed with the antioxidants that protect your cells against damage and may aid in the fight against cancer. A study in Carcinogenesis suggests that compounds in EVOO may fight cancer stem cells by altering the DNA of the cancer cells. Slice up some purple potatoes, sprinkle them with EVOO, and roast them in the oven for a tasty treat that packs a cancer-fighting punch.
5. Leafy Greens
Dark, rich, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens also contain powerful phytochemicals that may prove useful in the fight against cancer stem cells. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) maintains that a healthy diet, including leafy greens, can protect you against cancer in two ways. First, these foods provide the phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that nourish your body and fight against cancer. Second, consuming these vegetables helps you maintain a proper weight. AICR reports that obesity can increase your risk of 12 types of cancer. If you don’t enjoy leafy salads, try camouflaging these greens in a fruity smoothie.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and radishes are cruciferous vegetables, which contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and minerals. Furthermore, these veggies also contain compounds known as glucosinolates. The National Cancer Institute reports that glucosinolates are sulfur-containing chemicals. Your body may break down these chemicals into potent cancer-fighting agents such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates. Studies suggest that these sulfurous products fight cancer by decreasing inflammation, causing cancer cell death, and destroying proteins in cancer cell DNA.
3. Fruits and Berries
Blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and apples contain the flavonoid quercetin. Medical News Today reports that quercetin is a phytochemical that works in the body as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. As such, it may be a powerful tool in the fight against cancer stem cells and tumor growth. A bowl of fruit salad or a smoothie made with vibrant berries and leafy greens may provide your body with fiber, nutrients, and protection against cancer.Related: 6 Warning Signs of Stomach Cancer that have Nothing to do with Pain
Colorful red, green, and yellow peppers also contain many phytochemicals, including quercetin, beta-carotene, and luteolin. Studies suggest red peppers contain the highest levels of these antioxidants. However, including any of these peppers in your diet may offer protection against the growth of cancer and cancer stem cells. You can enjoy peppers sliced onto a salad, dipped in hummus, or simmered in savory soups and stews. Furthermore, peppers taste amazing and offer many nutrients when stuffed with brown rice and veggies and baked in the oven.
Garlic, a member of the allium family, contains sulfur compounds which may impart anti-cancer effects. Moreover, these sulfur compounds may also provide anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-microbial benefits. If you like garlic, you will love Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for 44-Clove Garlic Soup. This recipe calls for garlic, onions, thyme, chicken broth, and whipping cream. It is the perfect soup for a cold winter’s day and may heal your body as well as soothe your spirit.Related: The 7 Deadliest Cancers and How to Prevent Them