3 Cancer-Fighting Foods You’re Not Eating
By Scott Rosenfield
You’ve surely read the headlines that “wheat causes cancer!” or, on the flipside, “apples cure cancer!” It’s enough to make a man think that his dinner is a carcinogen tug-of-war. But how many foods really do have an effect—positive or negative—on cancer? The answer: Thirty-four percent, according to new Harvard research.
Researchers randomly selected 50 common ingredients—like bacon and celery—from a cookbook and searched for studies connecting them to cancer. After averaging the results from 264 studies, researchers only found links between 17 ingredients and cancer.
So we wanted to see what the average nutritionist eats to stay cancer-free. Here are three stealth health foods from Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of weight management and sports nutrition service Delicious-Knowledge.com.
“The antioxidant benefits are worth it even if it’s not your favorite vegetable,” Caspero tells MensHealth.com. Researchers believe that the antioxidants found in foods like kale prevent cancer by stopping free radicals—unstable molecules in your body—from damaging cells. For a preventative boost, start your morning with a green smoothie: Mix 1 cup kale, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 tablespoon flax seed, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk.
This popular Indian spice has one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any food on the market, says Caspero. “I really enjoy Indian food and try to sprinkle turmeric on my meals for an extra boost of antioxidants,” she says. Spice up your dinner by adding it to roasted potatoes or cauliflower.
Flax and Chia Seeds
“I actively try to seek out sources of Omega-3 fatty acids,” Caspero says. According to a 2010 study in The Journal of Nutrition, Omega-3s may reduce cancer-causing inflammation and signal cancer cells to self-destruct. The problem is, fish—the go-to Omega-3 source—can be expensive. Caspero’s suggestion for a cheaper option: Throw flax on to your A.M. oatmeal or use chia seeds in your next recovery drink.