5. Maitake and Shiitake Mushrooms
The Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms, native to Japan, improve your immune function and are great sources of antioxidants. They are also full of vitamins, including C, and B, as well as calcium and other important minerals. Furthermore, shiitake mushrooms are known for fighting the development and progression of both cancer and AIDS by improving the immune system and allowing your body to fight off these diseases on its own. Lentinan, a compound found in the mushrooms, can stop or at least slow the growth of tumors. An activated hexose compound, known as 1.3-beat glucan, is linked to a slowed activity within tumors as well as found to lessen the terrible side effects of chemotherapy.
Maitake possesses immune-boosting compounds called beta-glucans, which, though present in certain other foods, possess a structure in maitake mushrooms that is particularly effective. When you eat maitake mushrooms you activate white blood cells known as macrophages, which have the job of engulfing foreign particles such as pathogens and tumor cells. Macrophages, in turn, activate other components of the immune system, such as natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells. Unlike other anti-cancer agents, which must be injected, maitake is effective when taken orally, making it useful as a food or dietary supplement.
Eat both the stem and the top of the mushrooms for all the health benefits. If you find these mushrooms to your taste, you can even find kits for growing them at home.
You might wonder how something that tastes so good and irresistible can be so great at knocking out cancer?
The “culprit” is resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, which gives grapes their power. Like all antioxidants, it can reduce cancers and pre-cancerous growth and prevent the development of cancerous tumors. Research has shown that resveratrol is particularly potential to stop breast, liver, and stomach cancers. Green grapes have less resveratrol, as compared to red and purple ones. Also, the skin has a lot of the compound. It’s recommended that you eat less seedless grapes and eat more of the seeds that are in grapes for your best health.
If you consume organic red grapes daily, or drink fresh grape juice, you will have a naturally defender against cancer and tumor growth.
SOURCE: Jo, J. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, April 6, 2005; vol 53: pp 2489-2498. News release, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
7. Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
Your mom was right; you should have eaten your broccoli! Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, radishes, turnips and cauliflower contain phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which produce protective enzymes that are released when you chew the raw veggie, rupturing the cell walls. Your body also produces those enzymes in the intestines and when raw or cooked broccoli passes through, the enzymes are activated.
One of the most protective of these enzymes is sulforaphane and broccoli is the best source of this particular compound. Scientists are researching how sulforaphane might reduce cancer risk, from detoxifying harmful substances (such as smoke and other environmental pollutants) in the body to operating as a kind of antimicrobial agent by attacking the bacterium H. pylori.
Broccoli and its cousins are most protective against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, according to a review of hundreds of clinical studies conducted for the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research. Researchers at Ohio State University did a study that showed that anthocyanins, the substances that give cabbage their purple color, cut the growth of colon cancer cells in by 50% to 100%. Dark colored plants are all a good source of indole-3-carbinol, a compound that improves cell DNA repair while blocking growth of cancerous cells.
So do what mom always said. Steam broccoli and toss with garlic and olive oil for a healthy dish. Or just nibble on some raw florets.
8. Food with Folates
Folates rich foods include avocados, apricots, pumpkin, green leafy veggies, and chicken livers. Studies have shown that folates, or even its synthetic form, folic acid, significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer. They are also vital to the body for their function to correctly replicate DNA.
The synthetic folic acid, or B9, is often added to our food supply. It costs more and is less stable than the nature made version. Natural folates are preferable to synthetic versions, because man made molecules can sometimes act in unpredictable ways within the body’s normal biochemical pathways. If you have ever heard from someone that folates cause cancer, rather than prevent, they are actually referring to the synthetic version. Folates, which are made by nature, never cause problems.
Read more on the next page.