As the saying goes, food is medicine and boy is that true. What we put inside not only provides fuel for our body but also ingredients by which the body uses to keep us healthy or cause us to be diseased in some form or fashion. While not all cancers are caused by our diet, eating the foods listed below will help keep you healthy while starving cancer cells.
Before I move on to the foods that starve cancer cells, keep in mind eating in season is also important when consuming these foods. Eating while in season allows one to get the most out of that particular food. If you cannot eat in season, the next best choice is to pick up the frozen variety. Now when one is talking about the frozen variety, you may have read between the lines and realized that I am talking about a plant-based diet. No, you do not have to give up your favorite protein but increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is an easy way of starving cancer cells without really trying.
At this point, let’s take a look at some foods that are known to starve cancer cells.
Foods with Carotenoids
The term carotenoids are a catchall term that includes antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. These antioxidants can protect your cells and starve existing cancer cells. While these terms may look Greek, let’s take a look at what foods contain carotenoids. Beets, carrots, bell peppers, apricots, mangos, plums, nectarines, papaya, acorn squash, pumpkin, and tomatoes contain this important ingredient. When it comes to these fruits in vegetables it is always better to eat raw or as lightly cooked as possible but there is an exception. What is it? Well, I will give you a hint. It is an ingredient of sauce that is used on pizza. Ok, I know you know what I am talking about and it is the humble tomato.
While a raw tomato is delicious, if you are eating tomatoes to starve cancer then you want to increase the amount of lycopene. This is simply done by cooking your tomatoes.
An easy side dish to fix that utilizes cooked tomatoes is stewed tomatoes. The recipe below not only combines cooked tomatoes but also oatmeal bread and basil. These extra ingredients are also cancer fighters and starvers.
- 2 lbs. of fresh tomatoes
- Two slices of oatmeal bread
- One bunch of basil
- A pinch of sugar (optional)
- Wash and cut tomatoes into wedges and place them in a saucepan.
- Place on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Once the tomatoes start to boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer.
- Continue to cook until the tomatoes are soft and you have juice in the pan.
- Cut your two slices of bread into cubes and add to the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar to taste.
- Before serving, top with some chopped, fresh basil.
Prized for their rarity and outstanding flavor, morel mushrooms are an exceptional wild food with many medicinal benefits. Popular with chefs and food connoisseurs, these honeycombed-shaped mushrooms are also a favorite for those who are passionate about foraging. They are rarely farmed and extremely perishable, which explains their high price tag.
Polysaccharides from Morchella esculenta were shown in vivo to “inhibit the proliferation and growth of human colon cancer HT-29 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner within 48 h.” Moreover, this study found that common morel mushrooms effectively scavenge free radicals and discourage lipid peroxidation, leading to reduced cellular damage and cancer. The team concluded that “the morel mushroom mycelium is an excellent source of antioxidants which are capable of imparting protection at different levels. The findings suggest the potential therapeutic use of morel mushroom, M. esculenta mycelia as an efficient antioxidant.”
How to eat: Morels should be cooked; eating them raw can cause an upset stomach, even cramps. It’s also best to eat a moderate amount at one time. Morels are at their finest when sautéed quickly in butter and lightly salted or tossed on a grill. Some people like to bread them as well.
Spices And Herbs that Starve Cancer Cells
In the past, spices and herbs were overlooked as far as having any health benefit but recent studies have shown that these humble ingredients are powerful when it comes to cancer. Unlike the ingredients listed previously, spices and herbs are as powerful as fresh or dried. The herbs and spices that have shown to be effective against cancer include thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, ginger, garlic, dill, oregano, and turmeric. How does it work? Well, these ingredients can fight inflammation and provide antioxidants that can fight cancer.
Now that you see the list, you may be thinking of all the dishes that contain these spices/herbs. The first one I think of is pizza, which would include cooked tomatoes, garlic, basil, and oregano but I do have a secret to tell you about garlic. To maximize the benefit, you need the crushed or cut garlic to sit for 10 minutes before moving on with your recipe.
A simple recipe using garlic and olive oil, which is another cancer fighter, is roasted garlic.
- Several garlic bulbs
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Unroll a square of foil and set it aside.
- Take each garlic bulb and cut the top off so that you see garlic exposed.
- Set aside and repeat with all the garlic bulbs.
- Allow the cut garlic to sit for 10 minutes.
- Once the time period has passed, place the garlic bulbs in the foil and top with olive oil.
- Wrap the garlic bulbs in the foil and place them in the oven.
- Cook for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- To remove the garlic, simply squeeze the bulb and allow the roasted garlic to come out of the top.
Now, what can you use your roasted garlic on? Well, really anything from pasta to bread. You can even add more olive oil and make a roasted garlic oil dipping sauce for bread. While I am sure you will finish up the roasted garlic in one setting but if you do not there is a simple way of preserving your roasted garlic. Just remove all the roasted garlic from the garlic skins and place it in a container. Then, top the roasted garlic with olive oil and place it in the fridge.
Another delicious spice/herb that is easy to use is ginger. One of my favorite ways is to make ginger tea, which I love to drink as a hot toddy that is alcohol-free. The steps are easy and begin with cutting a piece of ginger about one inch long. Once you have your ginger piece cut, slice it up so that you can maximize the goodness of this herb. Do not worry about peeling the ginger but do rinse it off to remove any dirt. Next, place a cup of water in a saucepan, add your sliced ginger to the water and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature so that the water continues to simmer for 10 minutes. After this time period has passed, strain the liquid and enjoy.
If you would like, add a lemon or orange slice to the water and sweeten it with honey.
Turmeric is another powerful spice/herb that is known to affect cancer cells. While you can make golden milk with turmeric, which is so delicious, why not make a smoothie that is chopped full of ingredients that starve cancer cells. Now before I go on to the recipe, I do want to make a point about turmeric. To help your body absorb the goodness make sure you add black pepper to any recipe using this spice/herb.
- 2 golden beets with greens, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 banana, peeled and chopped
- 4 mandarin oranges, peeled
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon of freshly grated turmeric or ¼ teaspoon of dried turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 ½ cup of water
- Prepare all the ingredients.
- Place in a blender and mix until smooth
- Serve up in a tall glass and enjoy.
Oregano contains carvacrol, a molecule that may help offset the spread of cancer cells by working as a natural disinfectant. This herb is often found in classic Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta.
Though saffron comes with a hefty price tag, it contains water-soluble carotenoids called crocins. Crocins may inhibit tumor growth and progression of cancer. Because of its price, saffron is typically used in small amounts. The spice is particularly tasty when added to rice and curries.
In small doses, saffron has a subtle taste and aroma and pairs well with savory dishes, such as paella, risottos, and other rice dishes. The best way to draw out saffron’s unique flavor is to soak the threads in hot — but not boiling — water.
Several studies have shown that the Chinese skullcap is toxic to a range of cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, prostate and brain cancer, as well as lymphoma and myeloma. Researchers believe that a class of antioxidants known as flavones are responsible for the anticancer properties of the plant. One study examined the effect of skullcap on fibrosarcoma, an extremely aggressive cancer of the connective tissue with limited treatment options.
Numerous studies have established that the Chinese skullcap encourages apoptosis (programmed cell death) of skin, colon, prostate, and bladder cancers. In mice, tumors of the skin were reduced by 66% whereas bladder tumors shrank by 30%. Prostate cancer growth was reduced by 55% in animal studies. Additionally, research has shown skullcap prevents the growth and spread of ovarian, breast, liver, pancreas, bone, and colon cancers.
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