Cancer is a horrific disease that continues to kill over 595,000 people each year. While there’s no cure for it yet, there are plenty of natural and dietary options that can help reduce your risk of being diagnosed. There’s no singular way to prevent cancer, but changing your habits can help.
As medicine continues to push towards a cure for cancer, it’s important that we remain vigilant in our pursuit of ways to prevent it. Your diet is a huge part of that. Providing your body with antioxidants and nutrients can help it fight back against any potential cancer growth.
It’s always smart to include a large variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet. Depending on the season, your options may vary. In the spring months, there are new veggies coming back to the supermarket that can help your body fight back against cancer. Take advantage of seasonal produce and grab some of these at your nearest farmers market!
Check out these five spring fruits and vegetables that have been shown to fight back against cancer and lower risk.
You know the saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that could potentially halt the growth of cancer cells in your body. A large part of these benefits come down to chemicals called flavonoids. These antioxidants hunt down free radicals in the body that can cause damage to your genes. Inflammation and DNA damage are the first signs of cancer developing, so apples can help curb this in your body.
Keep in mind that many of these benefits are present in the skin of the apple, so don’t peel them! This just goes to show that a holistic approach can always help.
2. Winter Squash
Winter squash can be found in the early months of the year as we transition into spring. Pumpkins are part of this category and offer their own compelling benefits. The inclusion of carotenoids helps improve your eye health, for example.
The antioxidants are the real star here, though, giving your body the power to fight back against free radicals. In addition to pumpkins, other squash options include butternut squash, red kabocha squash, carnival squash, and even spaghetti squash.
Garlic comes in a variety of forms, but it begins as a cluster of cloves. It can be eaten raw, roasted, dried, or chopped up in your favorite dishes. Certain allyl compounds are responsible for the pungent odor and flavor that garlic is known for.
Researchers have often looked into garlic for its potential health benefits. A serving of garlic is just 1 teaspoon and that one serving comes with several nutrients that provide a huge range of nutrients. These nutrients fight back against inflammation and stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. The best thing about garlic is perhaps its flexibility. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes and recipes.
Kale has become extremely popular in recent years. It has been placed into salads, made into chips, and even thrown into smoothies for its benefits. The carotenoids in kale are considered responsible for helping to prevent breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers.
The levels of sulforaphane present in kale is also known to support the immune system and reduce inflammation. This nutrient also inhibits enzymes that alter gene expression and produce proteins related to developing cancer. For these reasons, it is one of the healthiest spring vegetables.
You might not find kale very tasty on its own, but incorporating it into salads or combining it with seasoning like garlic can add some flavor to this vegetable. Or try these ideas!
Carrots are an unassuming vegetable, but they are packed with nutrients. Things like vitamin A, C, and K, as well as folate and choline are just some of things found in everyday carrots. Specifically, scientists are interested in the carotenoids and polyphenols present in this vegetable. Carotenoids are strong antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body which can cause DNA damage. Carrots even have other antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic derivatives as well. All of these things contribute to anti-cancer and immune system boosting properties. You can enjoy carrots raw, cooked, or even juiced.
What aspects of your diet have anti-cancer properties? What’s your favorite item on this list? Let us know in the comments!