While we’ve done articles about cancer-causing foods that you want to make sure you’re NOT eating,
I wanted to discuss some simple Anti-Cancer-Diet solutions you can incorporate into your diet.
For example, I’ll explain ways to improve your body’s ability to detoxify and list some of the top cancer-fighting foods, drinks, herbs, and supplements.
1. Lower Your Toxin Load
An Anti-Cancer-Diet consists of:
- Lowering your toxin intake.
- Supporting the body’s cleansing and detoxifying processes.
- Eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods to support all of your body’s functions.
First and foremost, you can take these steps to reduce or eliminate the following products and substances from your life to halt toxin accumulation and reduce free radical, cellular damage:
- Commercial Health and Beauty Products: The things we put in our mouths and use on our skin or hair, such as commercial shampoos, makeup and cleansing products, are often loaded with potential carcinogens. Visit the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep database to look-up your favorite products and determine if you should switch to another brand.
- Household Cleaners: Indoor environments are often concentrated sources of pollution. Lower your toxin load by switching to natural cleaners or making your own instead of using products that are filled with chemicals.
- Unnecessary Medications: All medications pass through and burden the liver. Great use of acetaminophen is rapidly overtaking alcohol as the number one cause of liver disease. Work with your physician to lessen the number of medications you are taking.
- Plastics: Compounds in plastic containers, plastic wraps, the lining of metal cans, and paperboard containers can all leach compounds that disrupt the neuroendocrine system. This is especially true when plastic is heated, which is why it’s smart not to microwave plastic containers, store hot food in plastic, or leave plastic water bottles anywhere where they will become boiling (such as in your car).
Even if you eat healthy foods regularly, environmental toxins bombard you at all turns. You may also want to try intermittent fasting to help with detoxification periodically.
The organs that are responsible for detoxification and elimination — the skin, respiratory system, kidney, liver, and digestive tract — often get overburdened and re-circulate toxins in the bloodstream.
Practicing a cleanse or detox every few months can help these organs “catch up” and dispose of toxins stored in cells and tissue.
Colon and liver can be accomplished with a variety of herbs, green drinks, and easily digested whole foods such as juiced vegetables or those that are lightly steamed.
Some experts recommend drinking alkaline water, which you can create by adding lemon or lime juice.
To help with detoxification, you may also want to increase your intake of raw foods and green juices.
Although fiber is an essential part of digestion, elimination, detoxification, and a source of probiotic support —
too much fiber can stress a weakened or hyper-reactive immune system.
Juicing, steaming, and lightly cooking raw foods, using green powders, and cutting back on or eliminating whole grains can ease digestion and make many nutrients more readily available.
Related: Homemade Detox Drinks: 5 Major Health Benefits, Including Weight Loss
2. Drink Clean Water
Our drinking (tap) water can contain hundreds of unregulated substances, from pesticides and heavy metals to hormones and other pollutants.
Bottled water is even less regulated, which means it’s not necessarily a good alternative.
Your best bet is buying a water filter that can be used as home to remove chlorine, fluoride, and other pollutants from the water you drink and cook with.
3. Cook Foods At Lower Temperatures and Avoid Burnt Food
- Don’t fry your foods! Significantly reduce the amount of fast food, french fries, chips, cakes, cereals, and crackers you eat.
- It’s virtually impossible to eliminate acrylamide that can accumulate on fried foods. But eating a balanced diet mostly free of processed foods (and ultra-processed foods) and avoiding a high-starch diet can significantly reduce acrylamide levels.
- Frying, baking, broiling, or roasting are more likely to create acrylamide. On the other hand, boiling and steaming appear less likely to do so. Longer cooking times and cooking at higher temperatures can increase the amount of acrylamide in foods further. (12)
- Don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator. That can cause acrylamide levels to surge. If you’re planning on cooking vegetables at higher temperatures, soak the cut-up spuds first. Soaking in water for 2 hours before high-temp cooking can reduce acrylamide levels by nearly 50 percent. Even a simple 30-second rinse can slash acrylamide levels by 20-plus percent. (13)
I don’t eat much bread, but when I do eat an occasional sandwich or toast, I make sure it’s made with sprouted bread, such as Ezekiel bread. Additionally, in any Anti-Cancer Diet, I avoid over-toasting or burning the bread! The Food Standards Agency says as a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow color or lighter when toasting, roasting, frying, or baking.
4. Avoid Processed Grains and Added Sugar
Our bodies make the best use of food in its natural state, which is why added sugar or processed/refined grains are difficult to break down and can cause gut trouble.
The more processed and altered that food is, the more unnatural and harmful it becomes.
Refined sugar (including sugary drinks), wheat flour, boxed pasta, frozen dinners, powdered cheese, and heat-treated vegetable oils —
these processed foods are at the heart of a whole host of diseases and disorders.
Wheat, soy, and corn products are highly subsidized by the U.S. government, making them very cheap and widely available for the production of highly processed and refined products.
Food allergies associated with these foods are subsequently on the rise and can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and improper nutrient absorption.
These foods are also often loaded with pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, and heavy metals.
More and more, the seeds from which they are grown are genetically engineered.
The solution? Buy organic, sprouted whole grains, and avoid processed soy products for your Anti-Cancer Diet.
- Check ingredient labels to be sure you’re not consuming high amounts of added sugar/sweeteners. Brown rice syrup found in some snack bars and non-dairy beverages may contain high arsenic levels.
- Be wary of foods that might seem healthy but are not, such as low-fat or fat-free foods, dairy-free, and gluten-free foods, rice milk, and foods containing artificial sweeteners. Many times these foods contain chemical additives to replace fat, wheat, or dairy ingredients.
- Try working alternative grains like quinoa or buckwheat into some meals, rather than eating lots of bread, instant rice, pasta, cereal, etc.
- Rinse, soak, and sprout your grains. Rinse your rice and cook it like pasta to reduce the number of antinutrients it will provide. According to a Cornell University researcher, rinsing brown rice until the water is clear (usually 5 to 6 washings), and then cooking in a ration of 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of water, can remove 40 to 55 percent of inorganic arsenic in rice. (14, 15) And researchers from the U.K. found that cooking rice in a coffee pot reduced arsenic by up to 85 percent. (16)
- Consumer Reports testing found that basmati rice grown in California contained the lowest levels of arsenic; all types of rice, except sushi and quick-cooking rice, from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas included the highest standards of inorganic arsenic in a Consumer Reports testing. (17)
5. Eat More Cancer-Fighting Foods
Your best bet, to combat cancer and a host of other conditions, is to eat real food and to eat lower on the food chain.
research suggests these are some of the top Anti-Cancer Diet foods to eat regularly:
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli sprouts, cabbage, and kale are all members of the Brassica or Cruciferous family. Studies have found that these cruciferous vegetables are a potent source of antioxidants, and studies find them to be powerful weapons against bladder, breast, colon, prostate, stomach, and rectal cancers.
- Foods High in Vitamin A (Beta-carotene): The orange-red plant compounds found in fruits and vegetables are the precursors to Vitamin A. This potent antioxidant is proving helpful to those with breast and ovarian cancer. Vitamin A is necessary for many bodily functions, especially the immune system. It has proven to be effective in battling breast cancer and head and neck tumors. Vitamin A may also help battle skin, cervical, colorectal, esophageal, ovarian, pancreatic, and stomach cancers. Foods that supply vitamin A include liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, grass-fed butter, eggs, and winter squash.
- Foods High in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant the aids the immune system. It has proven effective (in whole food form—not supplements) against bladder, breast, and mouth cancers. Foods high in vitamin C include berries, peppers, oranges, papaya, guava, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, peas, and cauliflower.
- Garlic: Allium vegetables such as garlic, onions, and chives have antibacterial properties, DNA-defense, and cancer-halting processes that seem to work against breast, colon, esophageal, rectal, and stomach cancers.
- Green Tea and Oolong Tea: The polyphenols in green tea are potent antioxidants that have been found to destroy leukemic cells in lab cultures. They seem to recognize and halt the proliferation of abnormal cells. Oolong tea also contains theophyllines and theobromines (even in green tea) that reduce the risk of many cancers.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil contains phytonutrients that seem to reduce inflammation in the body. It may reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancers.
- Calcium Foods: Calcium, particularly when combined with vitamin D3 form, may reduce the incidence of cancer by 35 to 60 percent. Calcium seems to be especially beneficial for preventing disease and rectal cancers. (17) Some studies have also found that it helps reduce breast cancer and ovarian cancer risk. Sunlight exposure and marine oils such as cod liver oil or krill oil are excellent sources of vitamin D that help with calcium absorption. Calcium should ideally be obtained from foods like organic dairy products (I recommend raw dairy if possible), leafy greens, almonds, beans, and fish. In some cases supplementing can also be helpful but isn’t usually recommended for all adults.
You should also replace processed meats with fresh meats and fish.
Instead of eating processed meats like deli meats, sausage or hot dogs, purchase fresh, quality meat such as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken or turkey, and wild-caught fish.
To avoid over-eating, one type of meat (such as beef or pork) consume a variety of protein foods, both plant-based and animal-derived, since each has its benefits.
6. Boost Detoxification With Supplements and Herbs
Eating an Anti-Cancer Diet is No. 1 when it comes to cancer prevention.
But some certain herbs and supplements have been shown to help lower inflammation, boost the immune system, and therefore help to decrease cancer risk. These include:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3 fatty acid): Omega-3 fatty acids are getting so much attention because the Western diet is so unbalanced with an overabundance of omega-6’s. Omega-3’s have a host of health benefits, and research is still underway to validate their benefits in combating cancer.
- Chlorella, Blue-Green Algae and Spirulina: These single-celled animals are a source of vitamin B12 and bind with heavy metals, helping to eliminate them from the body.
- CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid boosts the immune system and may reduce the risk of developing colon, rectal, and breast cancers.
- Coriolus Mushrooms: These disease-fighting mushrooms have specific polysaccharides that boost the immune system, reduce tumor growth, and combat cancer.
- Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate our sleep and waking cycles. This hormone’s levels are closely linked to immune system function. Getting at least eight hours of sleep and reducing stress will boost your melatonin levels.
The quality of your Anti-Cancer-Diet is undoubtedly linked to your overall health and ability to prevent cancer.
However, other factors are also important for cancer prevention, such as exercising, avoiding medication and toxin exposure, not smoking or consuming too much alcohol, sleeping well, and controlling stress.
A variety of foods can be included in an Anti-Cancer-Diet, and your diet doesn’t need to be “perfect” to be healthy.
Start by making one or two changes at a time to your diet, removing foods that you consume a lot of but that are known to increase cancer risk.