14 Super Foods for Fighting Cervical Cancer
Learn how you can reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer by eating the right foods! The super foods listed below are known their extraordinary cervical cancer fighting nutrients. If you are looking for more general information on how your eating habits can affect your risk of developing cervical cancer, check out the section Diet for Cervical Cancer Prevention.
Please note: The content provided below and elsewhere on this website is not intended nor should it be construed as providing professional medical or nutritional advice. Do not rely on information provided on this website for your health problems; instead, consult a qualified medical professional for advice.
Originally from Central America, the papaya plant is today cultivated in most tropical countries. Termed as the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus, papaya is a true nutritional powerhouse. It is one of the best fruit sources of vitamin C (even better than oranges), but it also contains beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. This nutrient combo has been associated with lower rates of HPV infection, and experts believe that consuming just one papaya per week could already reduce a woman's risk of contracting cervical cancer.
Raspberries are bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet they are very low in calories. Clininal studies indicate that daily consumption of red raspberries may prevent the development of cells infected with HPV. This effect is most probably due to raspberries' high concentration of ellagic acid — a natural compound that has anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties. In some cases, it has also been able to cause apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. Furthermore, the ellagic acid found in red raspberries retains its potency through heating and freezing. So, regardless of whether you eat your raspberries fresh, frozen or heated, you will reap their cancer-fighting benefits.
#3: Green Tea
The weight loss promoting effects of green tea are well-known, but the health benefits of drinking green tea are more varied than that. Indeed, evidence suggests that green tea may also help prevent many types of cancer, including cervical cancer. Catechins, the same compounds that are responsible for green tea's weight loss promoting properties, have been shown to be extremely effective at protecting cells against DNA damage caused by free radicals. But the anti-cancer activities of green tea do not end there. Green tea has also been shown to suppress urokinase, a type of enzyme that is thought to play a key role in cancer cell metastasis (spreading) in cervical cancer patients. When buying green tea, choose loose tea leaves instead of tea bags as the release of catechins is better from loose leaves. You may also want to add a bit of citrus juice rich in vitamin C to your tea — research suggests that vitamin C can make the catechins in green tea more available for the body to absorb.
Asparagus is at the top of the list of foods with the highest concentration of glutathione (349 nM glutathione/g wet weight), a 'master antioxidant' that has gained the spotlight in recent years. Glutathione has widespread functions, many of which may contribute to a reduced risk of cervical cancer. For example, glutathione has been shown to be effective at protecting cells against free radical damage, detoxifying foreign substances such as carcinogens, and boosting the immune system by influencing lymphocytes. As an additional bonus, this exceptional plant is typically low in pesticides, even the non-organically grown produce.
You've probably heard that carrots are good for your eyes, but did you know that they may also help protect against cervical cancer? These protective effects are thought to be linked to carrots' strong antioxidant properties. Carrots also contain falcarinol — a natural compound that appears to be highly effective at inhibiting the development of cancer. Scientists found that rats that had pre-cancerous tumors and that were fed carrots were one third less likely to develop full-scale tumors than the animals in the control group. If you prefer cooked carrots over raw ones, it is best to keep the vegetables whole during boiling or steaming and chop them only afterwards; this helps them retain antioxidant nutrients and falcarinol. (Note: Aside from their cervical cancer combating properties, carrots offer a plenitude of other health benefits so they are good for the whole family! For further information, read the article Health Benefits of Eating Carrots.)
Salmon is a great food for protecting against cervical cancer and other types of cancer. It provides an excellent source of omega 3-fatty acids — healthy fats that are often in short supply in Western diets and that are believed to have a protective effect against cancer. In addition to omega-3s, salmon contains another interesting anti-cancer nutrient: astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color, has been shown to be extremely effective at destroying free radicals. To get the most astaxanthin, choose wild salmon. Astaxanthin are known to be much higher in wild salmon (particularly in sockeye salmon) than in farmed salmon. What's more, wild salmon contains only low levels of PCBs, harmful chemicals that are often present in high quantities in farmed salmon. That said, moderation should be the key also in the consumption of wild salmon. Too frequent/high a consumption of salmon may predispose you to an excessive exposure to certain toxins — such as pesticides and mercury. The FDA recommends eating fish twice a week, but not more often. This advice is particularly important for pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant because the toxins in fish can impair the neurological development of the unborn baby.
Turmeric, a spice that lends its yellow color to curries, has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a vast range of conditions and diseases. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay greater attention to this extraordinary root plant of the ginger family. Researchers have identified a number of cancer-fighting properties in turmeric that may make it effective against many types of cancer. Turmeric has been shown to contain a compound that can identify potential cancer cells by their abnormal chemistry and consequently induce self-destruction of such harmful cells — without damaging healthy cells. Furthermore, turmeric contains powerful antioxidant compounds and may prevent nitrosamine formation and inhibit aflatoxin production — two processes that have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.