Top Cancer-Fighting Foods
Mounting evidence shows that the foods we eat weigh heavily in the war against cancer.
This fat-soluble vitamin which helps absorb calcium to build strong teeth
and bones may also build protection against cancer.
How It Works
Researchers suggest that vitamin D curbs the growth of cancerous cells.
A report presented at the latest meeting of the American Association for
Cancer Research (AACR) showed a link between increased vitamin D intake and
reduced breast cancer
risk. It found vitamin D to lower the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50%.
Vitamin D may also improve survival rates among lung cancer
patients, according to a Harvard study reported in 2005. Patients who received
surgery for lung
cancer in the summer, when vitamin D exposure from sunshine is greatest,
and had the highest intake of vitamin D, reported a 56% five-year survival
rate. Patients with low vitamin D intakes and winter surgeries had only a 23%
How to Get It
In light of these recent findings, many researchers consider the current RDA
of 400 international units (IU) too low. William G. Nelson, MD, PhD, of Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., suggests that the RDA recommendations for
vitamin D be increased to 1,000 IU for both men and women. "Higher amounts may
eventually prove better, but for now that amount is likely to be safe and have
a protective effect," he tells WebMD.
While vitamin D is often associated with milk, high concentrations also can
be found in these seafood choices: cod, shrimp, and Chinook salmon. Eggs are
another good source. And don't forget sunshine. In just 10 minutes, you can
soak up as much as 5,000 IU of vitamin D if you expose 40% of your body to the
sun, without sunscreen.
If you enjoy sipping tea, you'll be happy to know that it appears promising
against some forms of cancer.
How It Works
Like many plant-based foods, tea contains flavonoids, known for their
antioxidant effects. One flavonoid in particular, kaempferol, has shown
protective effects against cancer.
A large-scale study evaluating kaempferol intake of more than 66,000 women
showed that those who consumed the most of it had the lowest risk of developing
Researcher Margaret Gates, a doctoral candidate at Harvard's School of Public
Health, suggests that consuming between 10 milligrams and 12 milligrams daily
of kaempferol -- the amount found in four cups of tea --offers protection
against ovarian cancer.