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TOP 10 ANTI-CANCER FOODS

“More than 100,000 phytonutrients found in plants have potential to impede and alter cancer”

From past few years, cancer has become a leading cause of death in most of the affluent countries. It has been evaluated that around 30-40% of all cancers can be averted by adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary measures. Certain factors such as obesity, excess consumption of three whites (like sugar, salt and refined flours), low intake of fibre and disproportion of omega-3 and omega-6 fats are all related to the increasing risk of cancers (Donaldson SM, 2004).

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Increase in the intake of functional foods like flaxseed (particularly its lignin fraction), and an ample amount of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cancer. Vegetables belonging to allium (onion, garlic, leek, etc.) and cruciferae family (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts) exert beneficial effects. In this article, you will get to know about some foods which have anti-cancerous properties and reduces the risk of cancer.

FoodsAnti-cancer componentsFunctionReferences
FlaxseedLignansHigh fibreIn a study, 161 men with prostrate cancer were treated with flaxseed supplementation, it helped reduce the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.High intake of dietary fibre may prevent colorectal cancer. (flaxseeds are high in fibre).It was also observed that dietary flaxseeds have the ability to reduce  tumour growth in breast cancer patients.Demark-Wahnefried W  et al (2008).Murphy N et al (2012)Thompson et al (2005)
TomatoesLycopeneFrequent consumption of tomato and lycopene was related to decrease in the risk of prostate cancer.Study conducted by Lu et al revealed an inverse relation between prostate cancer and plasma lycopene concentration in 65 prostate cancer patients and 132 cancer-free controlsGiovannucci et al (2002).Lu et al (2001)
Allium vegetable (Garlic, onion, leek, garlic stalks etc.)AllicinConsumption of allium vegetables in an ample amount reduces the risk of gastric cancer.Allicin present in freshly crushed garlic extract induces cell death in colon cancer.Zhou Y (2011)Bat-Chen W et al (2010)
BroccoliSulforaphaneSome studies showed that sulforaphane is associated with tumour cell death, and the reduced size of tumour also. Therefore, higher intake of cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Li Y et al (2010); Wu QJ et al (2013)
BerriesAnthocyaninsIn a study, evidence showed that bilberry extract reduced the cancer cell growth by 7% in 25 people with colorectal cancer.Certain animal studies suggested that compound found in berries have the potential to reduce both growth and proliferation of some types of cancer.Thomasset S et al (2009)Kresty LA et al (2001); Lala G et al (2006)
Fish and fish oilOmega 3Bidoli E et al showed that starch and monounsaturated fatty acids are directly related to the risk of  prostate cancer while polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and  linolenic acid) help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in lowering the risk of breast cancer.Bidoli E et al (2005)Shannon J et al (2007)
Olive oilConsumption of olive oil in higher amount may lower the risk of certain types of cancers such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer.Psaltopsulou T et al (2011);Stoneham M et al (2000)
Citrus fruitsCertain studies anticipated that higher consumption of citrus fruits lowers the risk of few types of cancers like pancreatic and stomach cancers.Bae JM et al (2009);Bae JM et al (2008)
TurmericCurcuminCurcumin has been shown to reduce the growth of breast cancer cells.Hua WF et al (2010).
Yoghurt and fermented foods (Idli, Dosa etc.)ProbioticIntake of dairy products with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) may induce anti-tumour effects. Certain studies also indicated that probiotic could decrease the risk and incidence  of tumours in colon, liver and bladder.Kumar M et al (2010)

So, a well balanced diet means having all the food items especially plentiful of fruits and vegetables that can be conducive in preventing cancer and supports recovery.

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REFERENCES

  • Donaldson SM (2004). Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutrition Journal, 3, 19.
  • Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, Switzer BR, Madden JF, Ruffin MT 4th, Snyder DC, Owzar K, Hars V, Albala DM, Walther PJ, Robertson CN, Moul JW, Dunn BK, Brenner D, Minasian L, Stella P, Vollmer RT (2008). Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men pre-surgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers,17(12), 3577-87.
  • Murphy N, Norat T, Ferrari P, Jenab M, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, Skeie G, Dahm CC, Overvad K, Olsen A, Tjonneland A, et al (2012). Dietary Fibre Intake and Risks of Cancers of the Colon and Rectum in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Public Library of Science one, 7(6).
  • Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, Strasser-Weippl K, Goss PE (2005). Dietary flaxseed alters tumour biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clinical Cancer Research, 11(10), 3828-35.
  • Giovannucci E, Rimm EB, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC (2002). A prospective study of tomato products, lycopene, and prostate cancer risk. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 94(5), 391-8.
  • Lu QY, Hung JC, Heber D, Go VLW, Reuter VE, et al (2001). Inverse associations between plasma lycopene and other carotenoids and prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev., 10(7), 749–56.
  • Zhou Y, Zhuang W, Hu W, Liu GJ, Wu TX, Wu XT (2011). Consumption of large amounts of Allium vegetables reduces risk for gastric cancer in a meta-analysis. Gastroenterology, 141(1),80-9.
  • Bat-Chen W, Golan T, Peri I, Ludmer Z, Schwartz B (2010). Allicin purified from fresh garlic cloves induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells via Nrf2. Nutrition and Cancer, 62(7), 947-57.
  • Li Y, Zhang T, Korkaya H, Liu S, Lee HF, Newman B, Yu Y, Clouthier SG, Schwartz SJ, Wicha MS, Sun D (2010). Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells. Clinical Cancer Research, 16(9), 2580-90.
  • Wu QJ1, Yang Y, Vogtmann E, Wang J, Han LH, Li HL, Xiang YB (2013). Cruciferous vegetables intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Annals of Oncology, 24(4), 1079-87.
  • Thomasset S, Berry DP, Cai H, West K, Marczylo TH, Marsden D, Brown K, Dennison A, Garcea G, Miller A, Hemingway D, Steward WP, Gescher AJ (2009). Pilot study of oral anthocyanins for colorectal cancer chemoprevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 2(7), 625-33.
  • Kresty LA, Morse MA, Morgan C, Carlton PS, Lu J, Gupta A, Blackwood M, Stoner GD (2001). Chemoprevention of esophageal tumorigenesis by dietary administration of lyophilized black raspberries. Cancer Research Institute, 61(16), 6112-9.
  • Lala G, Malik M, Zhao C, He J, Kwon Y, Giusti MM, Magnuson BA (2006). Anthocyanin-rich extracts inhibit multiple biomarkers of colon cancer in rats. Nutrition and Cancer, 54(1), 84-93.
  • Bidoli E, Talamini R, Bosetti C, Negri E, Maruzzi D, Montella M, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C (2005). Macronutrients, fatty acids, cholesterol and prostate cancer risk. Annals of Oncology, 16, 152–57.
  • Shannon J, King IB, Moshofsky R, Lampe JW, Gao DL, Ray RM, Thomas DB (2007). Erythrocyte fatty acids and breast cancer risk: a case-control study in Shanghai, China. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85, 1090–1097.
  • Psaltopsulou T, Kosti RI, Haidopoulos D, Dimopoulos M et al (2011). Olive oil intake is inversely related to cancer prevalence: a systematic review and a meta-analysis of 13800 patients and 23340 controls in 19 observational studies. Lipids Health Dis, 10, 127.
  • Stoneham M, Goldacre M, Seagroatt V, Gill L (2000). Olive oil, diet and colorectal cancer: an ecological study and a hypothesis. J Epidemiol Community Health, 54(10), 756-60.
  • Bae JM1, Lee EJ, Guyatt G (2009). Citrus fruit intake and pancreatic cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Pancreas, 38(2), 168-74.
  • Bae JM1, Lee EJ, Guyatt G (2008). Citrus fruit intake and stomach cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Gastric Cancer, 11(1), 23-32.
  • Hua WF, Fu YS, Liao YJ, Xia WJ, Chen YC, Zeng YX, Kung HF, Xie D (2010). Curcumin induces down-regulation of EZH2 expression through the MAPK pathway in MDA-MB-435 human breast cancer cells. European Journal of Pharmacology, 637(1-3), 16-21.
  • Kumar M, Kumar A, Nagpal R, Mohania D, Behare P, Verma V, Kumar P, Poddar D, Aggarwal PK, Henry CJ, Jain S, Yadav H (2010). Cancer preventing attributes of probiotics: an update. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 61, 473-96
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