Top 5 Anti-Cancer Foods
Did you know that physical activity, a healthy nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight are habits that can prevent up to 35 % of cancers1? There are two simple rules to follow when we want to adopt the best nutritional strategy against cancer and put all chances on our side:
· Rule #1: eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day2;
· Rule #2: prefer foods that are rich in antioxidants. Here are a few examples:
1. and 2. Cabbage and onions
These contain sulphur-based compounds that are said to inhibit the development of tumours and stimulate the activity of anti-cancer enzymes. Other than in cabbage and onions, these compounds can be found in vegetables from the liliaceae family: Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rutabaga, garlic, shallots, and leek. Most of these foods have a strong flavour and present the advantage of being a good seasoning for most meals. Unfortunately, some cooking techniques can affect their anti-cancer powers. Here are a few tricks to avoid this:
· Reduce to a minimum the amount of water you use to boil your vegetables;
· Save the cooking water by using it for preparing soups and sauces as well as for cooking grain products (such as rice or couscous);
· Decrease the cooking time for your vegetables;
· Integrate raw fruit and vegetables to your nutrition.
Free radicals are molecules that attack the cells of our bodies, break down our DNA, and damage blood vessel walls. Berries such as cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries contain polyphenols that help the organism fight these free radicals.
Also, did you know that Canada is the second biggest producer of cranberries in the world, and that berries are grown in several Canadian provinces? Here is another good reason to integrate them to your nutrition!
4. Red wine
Good news for red wine enthusiasts! Red wine contains resveratrol, a substance that is said to limit the creation, multiplication, and growth of cancerous cells4. But be careful: women should limit themselves to one glass a day (120 ml or 4 oz), and men to two glasses. Any more than this quantity, and the harm becomes greater than the benefits. That is to say moderation is always good in taste!
Tea contains catechin, i.e., antioxidant molecules that lower the incidence of colon cancers4. They are also believed to limit the creation of the blood vessels that feed the tumors, thus preventing them from growing. Whether it is green, black, yellow, red, flavoured, hot, or cold, tea is tastier than water and has the advantage of having no calories!
By Vanessa Martin
1. Société canadienne du cancer. 2011. Alimentation et forme physique. En ligne. < http://www.cancer.ca/Quebec/Prevention/Nutrition%20and%20fitness.aspx?sc_lang=fr-ca >. Consulté le 10 novembre 2012.
2. Dubost, Mireille. 2006. La nutrition. 3e édition. Montréal : Chenelière Éducation, 367 p.
3. Patterson, C.A. 2008. Polyphénols dans les petits fruits : Centrale antioxydante. En ligne. < http://www4.agr.gc.ca/resources/prod/doc/misb/fb-ba/nutra/pdf/polyphenols_fra.pdf >. Consulté le 10 novembre 2012.
4. Béliveau, Richard. s.d. Les bienfaits du vin rouge. En ligne. < http://www.richardbeliveau.org/capsules-video.html?start=2 >. Consulté le 10 novembre 2012.