Do you know good foods to eat that combat cancer?

Jan. 3, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 3, 2011 at 7:04 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

I am a cancer survivor and see lists from time to time of what foods I need to avoid, but very seldom do I see a list of what foods are recommended. Do you have a "Top 10" list of the best of the best that a cancer survivor should eat?

The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related.

Many of the common foods we eat contain cancer-fighting properties from antioxidants to phytochemicals, rather than the genetically-modified processed foods.

While there isn't a single element in a particular food that does all of the work, eating a variety of the best foods can help immensely. Here are some recommendations:

Avocados are rich in glutathione, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that have the ability to convert cancer promoting estrogen into a more protective variety.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain two important antioxidants, leutin and zeaxanthin that can play an important role in the diet of individuals with prostate cancer.

Flax, which contains lignans, is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and garlic, which has immune-enhancing allium compounds. Certain mushrooms, like shiitake, maitake, reishi and coriolusversicolor, can stimulate the production of interferon in the body, as many studies have indicated in Japan.

Nuts contain quercetin, while lemons, oranges, papayas and raspberries contain limonene, vitamin C and anthocyanins that are all antioxidants.

Sweet potatoes and carrots contain beta-carotene, and my all-time favorite and very popular in South America is tapioca, which is derived from the cassava plant and is very rich in nutrients.

Decaffeinated green tea contains polyphenols, which can be a relaxing benefit to the system.

A few other tips: Do not overcook your food, avoid the microwave, drink plenty of alkaline water, chew your food at least 15 to 20 times before swallowing, avoid caffeine, get a good night's sleep and take your vitamins every day, which can help build your immune system.

Cancer is a disease of the body, mind and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Relax, enjoy life and start the new year with happiness, which lies, first of all, in our health. Happy New Year to all.

There will be a free nutrition class 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Organic Emporium The topic will be Weight Loss Helpful Hints. Call today to make a reservation, 361-576-2100.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure



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