10+ Foods That Help Fight Lung Cancer
This section of HealWithFood.org's Guide to Preventing Lung Cancer presents over 10 foods that may help fight lung cancer. The foods listed below are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that are thought to help prevent lung cancer.
Blueberries are one of the greatest health foods and an excellent lung cancer fighting food. In a laboratory test conducted by USDA researchers, wild blueberries were shown to have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of more than 20 fruits and berries. ORAC is a measure of the antioxidant capacity of foods. The antioxidant activity of wild blueberries was shown to be even stronger than that of cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, or cultivated blueberries. The antioxidant and anti-cancer powers of blueberries can be attributed to a number of remarkable compounds contained in them, including anthocyanins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and ellagic acid.
#2: Shiitake Mushrooms
The health benefits of eating mushrooms are well documented, and the benefits of shiitake mushrooms seem particularly compelling. Shiitake mushrooms are packed with selenium, with one cup providing more than half of the recommended daily intake for this lung cancer fighting mineral. What's more, shiitake mushrooms are one of the best dietary sources of beta-glucans. According to studies, beta-glucans may help many types of cancer — including lung cancer — by passing immune cells into the cancerous area and by destroying cancer cells. The anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties of beta-glucans have also been observed in numerous animal tests. Shiitake mushrooms boast a delicious meaty flavor and they are particularly well suited for bringing meatiness to vegetarian dishes.
Turmeric, which lends its yellow color to many Indian-style dishes, has a long history in traditional Asian medicine as a remedy for numerous diseases. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay more attention to this powerful plant of the ginger family. Recent studies suggest that turmeric may be able to induce apoptosis, a process that triggers the self-destruction of cancerous cells. Turmeric also contains antioxidant compounds and may prevent nitrosamine formation and inhibit aflatoxin production — two processes that have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Watercress is a great anti-cancer food, and it is believed to be particularly effective at providing protection against lung cancer. Watercress naturally contains phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a specific mustard oil which is released when watercress is chopped or chewed. PEITC has been shown to be an effective chemopreventive agent for tobacco-induced lung cancer in rodents. In addition to PEITC, watercress contains high levels of the vitamin C. Watercress is available in most large supermarkets, but you can also grow it in your garden. Watercress makes a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches.
Tomatoes possess a number of interesting properties that make them exceptional at helping prevent cancer, including lung cancer. Their most interesting quality: they provide lycopene which is a very strong antioxidant. When incorporating tomato products into your Lung Cancer Prevention Diet, be aware that lycopene from processed tomato products — such as tomato paste, tomato juice, and catsup — appears to be more bioavailable than lycopene from raw tomatoes. In addition to lycopene, tomatoes contain vitamin C and are typically low in pesticides.
While extremely low in calories, this aromatic salad green is loaded with health promoting phytochemicals, and studies suggest it may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung cancer. Arugula, or rocket salad as it is called in some countries, is a particularly good source of glucosinolates, natural compounds that turn into isothiocyanates when the plant is chewed. Isothiocyanates have been shown to neutralize carcinogens and inhibit cancer cell proliferation. In addition, arugula is rich in chlorophyll, a plant pigment that has been shown to heal scarring in the lungs that could lead to lung cancer.
If you're looking for a great functional food to reduce your risk of lung cancer, think broccoli. Broccoli is the best natural source of sulforaphane, an extraordinary compound that has been shown to inhibit the development of lung cancer tumors in rodents. Sulforaphane has also been shown to eliminate carcinogenic substances, reduce DNA mutation, increase apoptosis in cancer cells, and help prevent the spread of cancer from one organ to another. Broccoli sprouts are a particularly rich source of sulforaphane, but also broccoli florets provide substantial amounts. Broccoli sprouts are typically eaten raw, but also broccoli florets are should be eaten raw, or slightly cooked, at least if you want to maximize their cancer-fighting properties. According to one study, cooking may destroy as much as 90% of the sulforaphane in broccoli.
Continue (Foods 8-13)