Cancer-Proof Your Diet
5. Green tea Switch to green tea for your morning cuppa, and you’ll get a nice dose of support for apoptosis. The key compound, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, seems to work as a signaling agent for inducing programmed cell death. “Drinking green tea helps cells to die at the end of their normal life cycle, which is important because cancer is caused by cells that have continued to grow and mutate beyond their normal lifespan,” says Kristin Stiles Green, N.D., director of naturopathic medicine for Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Ill. Aim for two to four cups of homebrewed organic green tea per day.
6. Mushrooms According to integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil, M.D., mushrooms are on primary cancer treatment protocols in Brazil and Japan. The verdict is still out on whether mushrooms work as a treatment, Abrams says, “but we know mushrooms are anti-inflammatory, and we think they may have an anti-tumor effect.” In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who ate 10 grams of mushrooms each day were 64 percent less likely to develop cancer than those who didn’t. Incorporate mushrooms into your diet whenever you can and consider taking a daily supplement that includes cordyceps, maitake and reishi.
7. Soy Some studies suggest that consuming soy foods may reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers, says Doyle. “Soy foods contain several phytochemicals, some of which have weak estrogen activity and may compete with the body’s natural source of estrogen, reducing the overall amount of circulating estrogen,” she says. Skip supplements and stick to whole forms of soy, such as edamame, tempeh and tofu.
8. Turmeric If there is a miracle food for cancer, it is turmeric. Studies are showing positive effects in the realms of prevention and treatment (particularly in hard-totreat pancreatic cancer)—as well as adjunctive therapy for patients going through chemo and/or radiation. “We are finding that turmeric discourages inflammation and down regulates tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a chemical that encourages cancer growth,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., author of Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease (Sterling). For best results, combine turmeric with black pepper. “Black pepper makes turmeric much more bioavailable,” notes Abrams. “But because it can increase absorption of other compounds, too—including prescription drugs—you should use it with moderation.”
9. Watercress “It supports liver function, which is crucial for cancer prevention and overall wellness,” says Katzin. “As little as three sprigs a day can lead to better outcomes for those at risk for lung cancer.”