Taking good care of yourself includes eating a healthy diet. And knowing which foods are good for you body can make choosing the right options a little easier. The temptation of fizzy sodas, salty French fries, and decadent pastries might make consuming a well-balanced diet challenging. But once you know how choosing the right foods can strengthen and heal your body, saying “no” to the wrong foods can become much less difficult.
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” In some ways, it’s true. Our bodies run on the nutrients and calories we place into it, after all. And medical professionals encourage us to eat healthy, not just for our current health, but for the state of our health for years to come. What we eat today may determine how healthy we are tomorrow. For example, some foods can cause cancer down the line. And on the other hand, there are foods that help to prevent and combat cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 1,700,000 people were diagnosed in 2019. Of that number, over 600,000 passed away. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Americans, accounting for one in four deaths. Only 5% of cancer is hereditary, meaning that 95% of cases can possibly be prevented. Working to weaken cancer’s grip means making healthy decisions on the part of each individual.
Cancer consists of mutated cells that rapidly multiply beyond control. Some cancer cells divide and can travel to other organs throughout the body, disrupting bodily functions. When this occurs, the cancer is called a “malignant” cancer. When malignant cancer cells travel to other parts of the body, it is called “mestatsis”.
Cancer cells don’t die in the same way typical human cells do. Instead, they multiply and take energy away from the body, which is why triggering the death of a cancer cell (apoptosis) is so important. In the same way that there are foods which encourage cancer cells to grow (processed meats, alcohol, etc.), there are also foods that cause cancer cells to die. The following are eight foods that can kill cancer cells and keep you healthy.
8. Cruciferous Vegetables
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli can help fight cancer. The nutrients in these veggies decrease the risk of cancer, especially in mouth, pharynx, lung, stomach, and colorectal (digestive) cancers. These foods are rich in antioxidants, which inhibit inflammation and regulate cell production.
Tomatoes, eaten raw or cooked, can help keep cancer cells in check. The main cancer-fighting nutrient in tomatoes is lycopene. Lycopene produces antioxidants and starts up the body’s antioxidant defenses. Lycopene has been found to target prostate cancer and decrease the risk of esophageal and breast cancers. A delicious way to get the most lycopene out of tomatoes is to cook or serve them with some oil, which helps the body absorb lycopene.