Despite billions of dollars being spent on research and the “war on cancer,” the cancer death rate in this country has decreased only slightly in the last 60 years or so.
In addition, while the cure rates haven’t changed much in the last five decades, survival time has improved, likely due to technological advances and early detection methods.
This translates to:
- If you get cancer, you’re likely to find out sooner and survive longer than previously.
- You don’t stand any better chance of being cured from cancer as you would have when John F. Kennedy was President.
- Your chances of dying from it haven’t dropped much since Leave it to Beaver was the number one TV show in the US.
Prevention is where it’s at
The good news is, it has been estimated that at least half of all cancer deaths can be prevented.
And while a lot of “ingredients” are in the cancer prevention mix (quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy bodyweight, getting regular exercise) one of the biggest bangs for your buck in terms of preventing cancer is to engage the power of NUTRITION.
Different nutrients help reduce your risk of cancers in various ways. Some act as antioxidants that can fight inflammation and disease-causing free radicals in your body.
Others support your immune system, which is your first line of defense against cancer—it actually helps nip it in the bud before it can take hold of you!
And yet other nutrients function as natural anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.
Let’s take a look at some of the superstars that can go a long way in helping you in your cancer prevention efforts.
Cancer-fighting nutritional superstars
The Omega-3 essential fatty acid Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) has been shown in studies to help inhibit the growth of certain cancers, especially breast cancer, plus it’s also showing promise in helping to prevent bowel cancer.
Unfortunately, in the US and other westernized countries, the typical diet provides very few Omega-3 fats, so many people are low in this disease fighting nutrient.
Foods sources of Omega-3 EFAs include: Cold-water fatty fish; meats, eggs and milk from grass-fed animals.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 1,000 mg of Omega-3 fish oil per day
Selenium combines with proteins to function as a free-radical fighting antioxidant.
Studies have shown a correlation between higher levels of selenium and lower risks of cancers, especially colorectal and lung cancers. Plus it’s also been shown to actually alter lung cancer cells!
Food sources include: Tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, cod, Crimini mushrooms, asparagus, turkey, chicken, beef and eggs.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 200 mcg per day
Zinc pampers the immune system and supports its cancer-fighting efforts.
It also functions as an antioxidant, helping to protect you against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Food sources include: Oysters, red meat, poultry, cheese, shrimp, crab, shellfish, beans, legumes, whole grains, mushrooms and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 50 mg per day
Numerous studies have shown that probiotics not only help promote better overall gastrointestinal health, but they can also help protect against colorectal cancer.
Adding these beneficial bacteria to your intestinal tract also helps enhance immune function and helps flush dangerous toxins from your GI tract.
Vitamin E has been researched extensively for its role in boosting the immune system and functioning as an antioxidant. Studies have shown that it helps protect against lung, esophageal and colorectal cancers.
Food sources include: Whole grains, (unprocessed, organic) vegetable oils, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, avocado, spinach, Swiss chard and asparagus.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 800 IU per day
The term “vitamin A” sounds like just one nutrient, but it’s is actually a group of related nutrients, each of which provides us with a variety of health benefits. There are retinoids (animal sources of vitamin A) and carotenoids (plant sources).
It is the carotenoids that shine in terms of antioxidant protection and may help reduce the risk of breast and lung cancers.
Foods sources of carotenoids include: Winter squashes, sweet potatoes, greens, carrots, tomatoes and red and yellow bell peppers.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 10,000 IU per day
In addition to being another nutrient important to immune system functioning, vitamin D has been shown to be an important player in protecting your body against several cancers, especially colorectal cancer.
Foods sources of vitamin D include: Oily fish such as salmon and sardines, and fortified milk.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 2,000 – 5,000 IU per day
Garlic is a health megastar–thanks to its sulfur compounds, it can slow or prevent the growth of tumor cells! It’s been shown to reduce the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer by up to 40 percent, as well as even suppress the growth of existing polyps in the colon and rectum.
Fresh garlic may be added to many foods including roasted or sautéed vegetables, salad dressings, dips, Italian dishes and soups.
Recommended dose for supplementation: 400 mg per day
When you engage the power of nutrition, you are stacking the deck in your favor and giving your body tremendous support to keep cancer far away from you!