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Foods that starve cancer cells 

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Jun 11, 2024 5:00 am

Is there one single food that can fight the big C? If there were, then the demand for that would be over the roof. 

There is no miracle food that can fight cancer single-handedly. Experts believe that a balanced diet with an abundance of certain foods will provide the nutrients needed by the body to help reduce the risk of cancer. In general, this group of foods includes apples, carrots, cruciferous vegetables, berries, and fatty fish, among many others. 

In studies published by the Cancer Research UK, it was discovered that cancer cells do not use ketones as an energy source. That made others conclude that lowering glucose levels with a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in fat can starve cancer cells. 

In China and Japan, medicinal mushrooms have been approved for cancer treatment combined with standard modalities. More than a hundred are part of the list of mushroom varieties that were found effective. The list includes reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, and maitake. 

A healthy diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, along with regular exercise and other lifestyle factors, plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of cancer and supporting overall health.

While more research is still required to validate the effectiveness of food in cancer treatment, it cannot be stressed enough that a balanced diet complete with nutrients combined with regular exercise, sufficient sleep, hydration, and stress management will benefit overall health. 

Cancer, a significant global health challenge, is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Conventional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are commonly prescribed but emerging research suggests that certain foods may have the potential to starve cancer cells and inhibit their growth. 

These foods, often referred to as anti-cancer or anti-angiogenic foods, possess properties that can help prevent tumor formation, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.

Here are some of them.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage are well-known for their potent anti-cancer properties. These vegetables contain compounds like sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, particularly in breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and support the body’s immune system in fighting cancer. 

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are potent anti-cancer foods.

Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, contains a bioactive compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-cancer properties. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, induce apoptosis (cell death) in tumor cells, and reduce inflammation in the body. Incorporating turmeric into your diet by adding it to curries, soups, or smoothies may help starve cancer cells and support overall health. 

Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which could induce the death of cancer cells.

Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals that have been linked to cancer prevention. These fruits contain compounds like ellagic acid and resveratrol, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties. Studies have shown that consuming berries regularly may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. 

Garlic is another culinary herb known for its anti-cancer properties. Garlic contains organosulfur compounds like allicin, which have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and slow down tumor growth. Additionally, garlic has immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, making it a valuable addition to a cancer-fighting diet. 

Garlic is rich in allicin, which can slow down tumor growth. Use this culinary bulb generously in your cooking.

Green tea is rich in catechins, a type of antioxidant that has been extensively studied for its anti-cancer effects. Catechins in green tea have been shown to inhibit tumor growth, reduce angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels that feed tumors), and induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Regular consumption of green tea may help starve cancer cells and lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. 

Carrots are rich with essential nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, which gives the vegetable its distinctive orange color. A Danish study examined the effect of carrots on certain cancer development involving 55,756 participants. Results suggested that eating raw carrots daily may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 17% and may help protect against leukemia, lung, and pancreatic cancer. 

Carrots derive their glowing orange color from beta-carotene. Eating this vitamin and antioxidant-rich vegetable raw every day can reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Dark chocolate has polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants, which, according to a 2022 research study, could have a preventive effect against cancer. They further claimed that people who ate more dark chocolate had a 12% lower risk of death from cancer. 

Dark chocolate matters when it comes to cancer: The darker and less sweet, the better. Berries are anti-cancer foods as well. Both are rich in antioxidants.

Olive oil could decrease the risk of developing any type of cancer, according to studies. It may prevent breast, gastrointestinal, upper aerodigestive, and urinary tract cancers. A research study with 1,567 adult participants in Spain suggests that two or more tablespoons of olive oil per day provide the benefits of lowering the risk of cardiovascular and cancer death. 

A study in Spain found that two tablespoons of olive oil a day can lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular death.

While the foods mentioned above show promise in starving cancer cells and preventing tumor growth, it is essential to remember that they are not a standalone treatment for cancer. A healthy diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, along with regular exercise and other lifestyle factors, plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of cancer and supporting overall health.