Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top 5 Anti-Cancer Foods

I have always had a special place in my heart for the phytonutrient known as Allicin, since my name is Debra Allison.  I first learned about phytonutrients in the 1990's during an undergraduate nutrition class. That is when my love for these natural chemicals in plant foods took off. As a religious woman who is also a nutritionist there is something special about learning the medicinal properties of our natural God-given foods that are intended to prevent disease as well as heal us from disease. New phytonutrients are being discovered all the time. Basically every single fruit or vegetables contains at least one phytonutrient that can provide antioxidant (kills free radicals), anti-inflammatory, or anti-cancer properties to your cells .  Yes, even humble cucumbers contain cucurbitacins which are anti-inflammatory and possibly have anti-cancer properties too. This is why food will always trump supplements and why we must go "Beyond Prenatal vitamins" when discussing women's health.

A few very special people I know were diagnosed with cancer these past few years. Some had surgery, some had chemo, some are having more chemo. These people all told me that when they were diagnosed with cancer, many people started telling them how “so and so cured cancer with (fill in alternative treatment here).” But most people don’t choose an alternative route when faced with a deadly disease. Most people will choose a conventional medicine route to try and eradicate the disease.  However, all cancer patients have a waiting period.  Waiting to find out results of biopsies; waiting to find out treatment options; waiting to find out which top doctor can make room in their schedule; waiting for blood counts to increase, or waiting to see if the chemotherapy will work.  What if these alternative methods are utilized during this waiting period? Would it make the patient feel empowered? Would it possibly help slow the growth of the cancer? 

So I thought I would compile a list of some the top well-studied (700+ research studies on garlic and cancer on Pubmed!!) anti-cancer foods that encourage apoptosis (cell death, a good thing when the cells are cancerous). This is certainly not an exclusive list, just a place to start. Notice how many different colors are represented here, as phytonutrients exist in the colorful components of the plant.

Five Foods that are Anti-Cancerous and encourage Apoptosis 
(and their magic power phytochemical)

1.      Raw garlic (Allicin)
          2.      Turmeric (Curcumin)
         3.      Oregano (Quercetin)
                      4.      Cayenne pepper (Capsaicin)
        5.      Ginger (Oleoresins)
6. "Bonus" Anti-Cancer Food: Green tea (Polyphenols: Catechins, ECG)

      These spices and herbs can be turned into delicious salad dressings, sprinkled on salad, rubbed on chicken or fish, added to meat or veggie stew, or added to rice, stir-fries, or soups. Green tea can be enjoyed as a tea or used in salad dressing and even in your cooking! You can also eat some of these foods, like garlic, crushed and mixed with some raw unheated honey to be enjoyed by the tablespoon (This is how I finally got rid of a nasty strep throat infection that just wouldn't go away with antibiotics). Just make sure to eat them daily. 

    I singled out these 6 foods but there are literally hundreds of foods that contain phytonutrients.

    For more examples of phytonutrient-rich food organized by food color, see this document put together by the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the name of the phytonutrients in each color food group, click on this link.

       Your blogging nutritionist, Debra Allison 


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, Debra Allicin!!
    My friend just told me her dad, who's currently undergoing throat cancer treatment, was given Manuka honey by his cancer nutrition support person. I though it was amazing that he actually has that person and that she's suggesting some health-supporting foods. I've been obsessing w turmeric lately, and read that the best way of absorbing it is to eat it along with fat (coconut oil) and pepper, so curry dishes sound like the perfect recipe!

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