Cancer-fighting nutrients

Defend yourself against top killer by adhering to proper diet

By Deb Dittner

cancer CRUSADECancer is the second-leading cause of death in America.

The leading causes of death from cancer for men are:

— Lung and bronchus

— Prostate

— Colorectal

The leading causes of death from cancer for women are:

— Lung and bronchus

— Breast

— Colorectal

So, let’s explore what you can eat to boost cancer-fighting meals:

• Decrease sugar. Sugar may actually be linked in the formation of cancer. Cancer thrives on large amounts of glucose found in sugar to survive.

• Make vegetables at least half of your plate. Eating more vegetables daily such as a salad, homemade vegetable soup, or add steamed or sautéed vegetables to your meal. Using spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles in place of pasta adds more veggies to your plate.

• Include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage as these contain glucosinolates that form the cancer-protective compounds isothiocyanates.

• “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”: The old saying has merit. Apples contain phytonutrients and studies have shown that apples can lower the risk of lung cancer.

• Include Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables: The antioxidant effect from Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies fights free radicals linked to cancer. Ones to include are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, kiwi, pineapple, and watermelon, to name a few.

• Make sure you eat your leafy greens, Beet greens, collards, kale, spinach and lettuce boost your immune system to fight off cancer cells, providing needed vitamins and minerals.

• Everyone loves Brazil nuts. Adding three to four Brazil nuts to your daily nutrition will provide cancer-fighting selenium.

• Beans, beans, the musical fruit are great sources of fiber to keep your bowels moving while eliminating toxins from your body. Add to salads, soups, and stews.

• Curry dishes: Increasingly popular is turmeric, one of the spices used in curry dishes. This anti-inflammatory spice has been shown to reduce certain cancer risks, specifically of the prostate and colon.

• Eat a rainbow of colors, specifically orange. Foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mangoes, squash and apricots contain carotenoids, an established anti-cancer nutrient.

• Make sure to choose organic whenever possible. Remove pesticide-laden foods from your diet and you will cut the risk of cancer between 25%-to-73%. The Clean 15/Dirty Dozen app by will provide you with information on eating organically.

• Eliminate nitrates from the diet, such as processed luncheon meats, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon.

• Decrease the heat: Lower the heat when cooking to low or medium temperatures. Cooking at higher heats can release chemicals into the food, some of which may be carcinogenic, especially when oils start to smoke.

• Add spice to your life: Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger contain anti-cancer compounds.

By eating whole nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis will help provide the necessary elements for your body to decrease your risk of cancer.

Enjoy that plate of veggies and fruit today!

Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at or contact her at 518-596-8565.