This weekend The Cooking Academy team is supporting an Open Garden in Moor Park in aid of Cancer Research. Cancer is a horrendous disease, which in some form or another is now believed to affect 1 in 2 people in the UK alone. The cause of cancer is very complex and cannot be entirely avoided, yet through nutritional eating foods to fight cancer, we can help lower the risk and even profoundly aid the recovery of cancer patients.
How Free Radicals Damage Our Cells and Lead to Cancer
Cancer develops through abnormal behavior of cells, which can lead to cancer cell growth, tumor growth, and metastasis. These abnormal behaviors can be caused by many reasons, one being toxins, often referred to as free radicals, which enter the body through numerous ways such as sun exposure, diet, and tobacco smoke. Not only do they create abnormal cells, but they damage our existing cells through a process called oxidation, hence why we need an abundance of antioxidants in our food to fight these free radicals.
30-40% of Cancers Can Be Prevented Through Nutritional Cookery
Inflammation is another chronic condition that can be diet or environment-induced. Chronic inflammation over time can lead to cell damage and therefore cancer. Inflammation and the control of free radicals can be decreased dramatically through our diet. Shockingly, 30 – 40% of cancer types can be prevented through nutritional cookery.
What is nutritional cookery you may ask? Actively seeking out ingredients that are highly nutritious contain specific antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory will improve certain types of conditions and protect the body from exposure to harmful toxins.
What are the cancer-fighting foods?
- Turmeric contains the ingredient curcumin which has been linked with the prevention of precancerous cells turning cancerous. Not only this, studies have shown it seems to be able to kill existing cancer cells. The health benefits of turmeric are increasingly becoming more common, and now you can purchase turmeric tablets from health stores. However, we have incorporated this powerful antioxidant into a much more appetizing turmeric latte, you’ll find the recipe in one of our previous blogs.
- Berries such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich in vitamins, such as vitamins A and C, which we know work wonders for our immune system. They also contain the antioxidant proanthocyanidin which lowers free radical damage. Berries are easily incorporated into our diet as they are the perfect snack on the move, or can be blended to make a highly nutritious breakfast smoothie.
- Leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables are highly nutritious, yet they are also a top food to fight cancer. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and greens are natural glucosinolates, and these reprogram cancer cells so that they die off. Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower are rich in glutathione, which is a ‘master antioxidant’.
- Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which is responsible for clearing any potentially damaging and cancer-causing oxidants from the body and stops them from being reabsorbed again. Good news – you can even gain your Lycopene intake from tomato ketchup and tomato juice.
- Brightly colored orange foods, such as citrus fruits and sweet potatoes, are abundant in vitamins and antioxidants, particularly carotenoids which are a product of vitamin A. Beta-cartonene is a brilliant antioxidant to detox your body, help protect your liver and protect against cancer of the eyes, skin and organs.
- Omega 3-rich foods, such as salmon and sardines contain anti-inflammatory effects, linking them to the prevention of cancer. Fish is incredibly beneficial to our diets, as omega 3 also helps brain development and decreases the chances of blood clots, heart disease, and strokes. It’s a deliciously quick midweek meal, making it easy to incorporate into our diet.
- Chocolate: brilliant news for chocolate lovers as dark chocolate contains the antioxidant Flavanols. To be considered dark, chocolate needs to contain at least 70% cocoa (which subsequently reduces sugar content too!) Flavanols also benefits our heart by helping lower our blood pressure and improving blood flow. It stops blood cells from sticking and clotting, reducing clots and strokes.
Simply limiting your intake of processed meats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates and replacing them with cancer-fighting foods all help keep your body fighting fit and preventing certain types of cancer. Now that’s advice I would definitely take.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.