Foods that can help fight cancer
Posted on 13 October 2015
A bad diet can wreck your health and, in some cases, even lead to cancer. Power up your menu with our list of cancer-preventing superfoods.
There’s an old saying: What you put in is what you get out. Your diet is pretty much the same. Research has shown that what you choose to put into your body can impact your health positively or negatively. If you eat well and lead a balanced lifestyle, your health can improve significantly – and your cancer risk can plummet.
So what’s on your cancer-combatting menu? Jandri Barnard, a registered dietician at Mediclinic Newcastle, has some suggestions. ‘There are two ways of looking at this,’ she says. ‘On one hand, you’ve got the foods you should avoid, and on the other hand, you’ve got the good foods that can improve your health and help with cancer prevention.’
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) recommends that you restrict or limit salt, sugar and alcohol – along with meat, animal and saturated fats, and processed foods. ‘So you’ll want to avoid braai meats and anything made with saturated fats,’ says Jandri. ‘Then also butters, sunflower oils and foods that have been deep fried.’
But, like any sensible dietician, Jandri knows that it’s better to offer suggestions around what you should eat, rather than just telling you what not to eat. ‘On your “To Eat” list, you’ve got your fresh fruits and vegetables,’ she says. ‘So that’s berries, tomatoes, beetroot, spinach, broccoli…’
Wait. Broccoli? Yes: green cruciferous vegetables (which also include cabbage and kale) contain fibre, which helps eliminate toxins, and indole, which is known to reduce aggressive oestrogen action, helping your body fight oestrogen-driven cancers like certain breast, prostate, brain and colorectal cancers.
CANSA recommends that you eat at least five portions of seasonal fruit and vegetables every day, picking a variety of for different nutrients.
And don’t be shy with the berries, either: berries contain powerful antioxidants, which can halt the natural processes in your body, which create cell-damaging free radicals.
Want another source of antioxidants? ‘Then pour yourself a cup of rooibos tea,’ says Jandri. ‘If you’re looking for antioxidants, then Rooibos is a great source as well.’
The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.