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The best cancer-fighting vegetables

Christina Pomoni,

here is clearly a reduced risk of cancer for people who consume higher quantities of vegetables. The preventive effect of vegetable consumption is unfailing for several types of cancer up to a fraction of 20%-30%.

Many people don't realize that their diet can actually influence on whether or not they will develop cancer. However, dietary habits are one of the few controllable risk factors for cancer prevention. Cancer scientists and nutritionists agree the increased vegetable intake modifies the risk factor up to a fraction of 20%-30% making the preventive effect of vegetable consumption unfailing for several types of cancer.

Nutrition can help you fight cancer. Following a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can be as tasty as it is healthy. Think for instance, broccoli with olive oil and a nice glass of wine. It tastes good and it provides your body with health-promoting benefits.

The following vegetables have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers:

- Cruciferous vegetables
Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower contain indole-3-carbinol, which is a chemical component that can fight breast cancer by being converted into a protective estrogen. In general, cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, horseradish, mustard greens, cabbage, collard greens, kale and watercress, all classified in the cabbage family, are rich in phytochemical sulforaphane. This component contributes to breast, skin, stomach, colon and rectal cancer prevention by inducing the production of certain enzymes that can neutralize free radicals.

- Spinach
Spinach has a great nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. Fresh, boiled or steamed, spinach inhibits stomach cancer and skin cancer, while it has been shown to prevent colon, breast and prostate cancer.

- Mushrooms
Mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, a powerful compound that contributes in building immunity. In addition, they are rich in lectin, a substance that neutralizes cancerous cells preventing their multiplication. They also contain thioproline that stimulates the production of interferon in the body. Consuming mushrooms daily may reduce cancer risk by two thirds.

- Beans
All kinds of beans are rich in protease blockers that inhibit carcinogens to develop in the digestive tract. Soy beans are high in isoflavones that decreases the risk of breast cancer by inhibiting the tumour-growing influence of estrogen.

- Tomatoes
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that contributes to the reduction of risk of prostate, ovarian and cervical cancer. Concentrated tomato products such as tomato puree, tomato paste and ketchup contain increased amounts of concentrated lycopene and therefore their protective effect against cancer is highly beneficial.

- Carrots
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which decreases the risk of a broad range of cancers including stomach, bladder, intestine, breast, prostate, mouth, throat and lung. Eating one carrot every day is recommended to benefit from its health-promoting properties. Some research studies indicated that beta carotene may also cause cancer, but this may occur if you consume large quantities of carrots, 2-3 kilos per day.

- Garlic
Garlic is rich in allicin that has immune-enhancing compounds that actually increase the activity of immune that slow down or prevent cancer development in the stomach, breast and esophagus. The sulphur compounds that give garlic its intense flavour have been shown to protect against cancer by neutralizing carcinogens. People who consume raw or cooked garlic regularly reduce drastically the risk of stomach cancer because garlic has anti-bacterial effects against certain bacteria that cause cancer there. To achieve full anti-cancer benefits, it is recommended that garlic is peeled, minced and cooked after 15 minutes.

Changing dietary habits is no easy task. People understand they have to change, but they donít feel ready to do it. This is because eating is associated to behavioural patterns that provide familiarity and require a lot of effort and dedication to be altered.

However, when it comes to a destructive reality, it is imperative to change dietary habits. Statistics show that 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer and more than 500,000 are expected to die in 2009. 32 percent of these forthcoming deaths are associated to bad eating habits.


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