Life and death are literally connected to the foods that we consume on an everyday basis. Everyone can benefit from the power of produce and plant-based foods, these foods can drastically aid in the recovery and prevention of cancers and other diseases. Certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, oats, whole grains, spices, and teas provide unique benefits not found in other foods.
These benefits help to reduce the risks of certain cancers and can even slow tumor growth and recurrence. Most of these plant-based foods provide plenty of other health benefits too. Let's discuss a few shall we:
Carotenoids are also called tetraterpenoids, these are yellow, orange, and red organic pigments that are produced by plants and algae, as well as several bacteria, and fungi. Carotenoids give the characteristic color to pumpkins, carrots, corn, tomatoes, canaries, flamingos, salmon, lobster, shrimp, and daffodils. Carotenoids like beta-carotene (carrots), lycopene (tomatoes), and lutein (spinach) provide you with antioxidants. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the following are nutrients with antioxidant activity and the foods in which they are found:
Vitamin C: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, leafy greens (turnip, mustard, beet, collards), honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemon, orange, papaya, snow peas, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, and bell peppers (all colors)
Carotenoids including beta-carotene and lycopene: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, bell peppers, kale, mangos, turnip and collard greens, oranges, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, winter squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon
Phenolic compounds: Quercetin (apples, red wine, onions), catechins (tea, cocoa, berries), resveratrol (red and white wine, grapes, peanuts, berries), coumaric acid (spices, berries), anthocyanins (blueberries, strawberries)
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and similar green leaf vegetables. These vegetables are named after the Latin word crucifix because when these plants blossom, they resemble a cross. But aside from their unique shapes and sizes, these vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins C, E, K, and fiber. These vegetables contain phytonutrients which are plant-based compounds that may help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Some of these vegetables are:
When it comes to fighting cancer we can still use many of our favorite spices to do the job. Fresh herbs and spices can not only spice up your meals but they can help stimulate the immune system which helps to fight off cancer. The way you season your foods can have surprising benefits for fighting cancer. Certain seasonings, either fresh or dried, can reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants, both are key parts of cancer prevention. Some of these spices include:
Covid-19 & Food Handling
As we face the busy times of the holidays approaching along with covid-19, it's important to make sure you are staying safe with your foods as well. This is especially true for those who have underlying health conditions such as cancers and autoimmune deficiencies. According to the CDC, the risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low. Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where the infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags. It is always important to follow good food safety practices to reduce the risk of illness from common foodborne pathogens.
If you have a meal kit or frozen prepared meal delivery, check the temperature of any food that is normally kept in the refrigerator or freezer (such as milk, meat, and eggs) immediately after it is delivered, using a food thermometer and make sure the food is 40°F or below.