Combating Cancer

Choice of foods can strengthen your ability to ward off cancer

By Deb Dittner

cancer fightersLet thy food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

— Hippocrates

Hippocrates was way ahead of his time with his thinking regarding food and how whole nutrient-dense foods keep us healthy. Addressing any chronic condition is best through gut health with proper nutrients.

A variety of foods you eat will boost your ability to stay healthy. Let’s explore some of your options:

— Leafy greens: By eating more leafy greens such as kale, beet greens, collards and spinach, you boost many vitamins and minerals, helping to boost your immunity to fight off cancer cells.

— Choose organics: Choosing organic foods over pesticide-laden ones decreases your risk of cancer between 25%-to-73%.

By choosing organic foods, you lessen the possibilities of developing cancer, specifically through the lymphatic system consisting of nodes, tubes and glands that remove waste products from tissues throughout the body.

— Increase cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables consist of broccoli, cabbage (red, napa and green), cauliflower and Brussels sprouts containing glucosinolates that form cancer-protective compounds known as isothiocyanates.

— Avoid nitrate-laden meats: Processed deli meats and cold cuts, bacon, sausage and hot dogs contain cancer-causing nitrates.

— Decrease sugar: Research shows that sugar may be linked to cancer. Sugar creates inflammation and allows cancer to survive in the body. Use more natural forms of sweetener such as real maple syrup and raw local honey.

— Increase Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables: Vitamin C-rich fruits such as cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon and berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries) and vitamin C-rich vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, peppers (red and green) and sweet and white potatoes carry powerful antioxidants, fighting free radicals linked to cancer.

— Eat more veggies: When fixing your plate, make at least half of it vegetables. Consider eating a daily salad, homemade vegetable soup and add steamed or sautéed vegetables.

— Grill on low to medium heat: When meat is heated on high and comes in contact with flames, carcinogenic compounds can form.

— Add Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts contain selenium, which is cancer-fighting. Eat 3 to 6 daily.

Orange is the new craze

— Increase orange: By adding more orange-colored fruits (oranges, mangoes and apricots) and vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots and squash) to your diet, you’re providing anti-cancer nutrients called carotenoids.

— Eat an apple a day: The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been shown through research to decrease the risk of lung cancer.

— Add spice:

• Cloves: Research shows that clove contains anti-cancer compounds including oleanic acids, betulinic acids, phenolics and dimethyl cardamonins. Cloves can be sprinkled on some of your favorite foods and also enjoyed in chai tea and spice cake.

• Turmeric: One of the spices used in curries has been shown to aid in the shrinkage of prostate cancer tumors.

• Curcumin: This spice also aids in fighting prostate cancer as well as reducing colon cancer risk.

— Add beans: Beans are a great source of fiber, keeping your bowels moving and removing toxins associated with cancer. Add beans to soups, stews, salads and tomato sauce. Aim for a minimum of a half cup of beans daily.

Keep this list of gut-healing, anti-cancer foods on your refrigerator for quick, daily reference. Enjoy these nutrient-dense foods and enjoy better health.

• 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.