Four Nutrients that Fight Cancer According to Science

Four Nutrients that Fight Cancer According to Science

According to Dr Vincent, highly respected clinical nutritionist, food scientist and antioxidant researcher, there are four nutrients that should be part of everyone's diet because they are known to have cancer fighting properties.

Unlike most bacterial and viral infections, the search for a cancer cure has proven to be a particularly difficult quest. Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. Cancer is a complex genetic disease that is caused by specific changes to the genes in one cell or group of cells. These changes disrupt normal cell function – specifically affecting how a cell grows and divides, leading to cellular mutation.

One of the causes of the mutation is inflammation. The theory of the role of cellular inflammation in cancer's development was first put forward by German scientist and physician Rudolf Virchow in 1863. He made an observation that cancer often develops at sites of chronic inflammation. Modern science and medicine have allowed us to pinpoint chronic inflammation as a primary risk factor for cancer and other serious health conditions.

Sometimes, cancer-causing chronic inflammation stems from a disease caused and characterised by inflammation. The inflammatory diseases colitis, pancreatitis and hepatitis, for example, are linked to a greater risk of colon, pancreatic and liver cancers, respectively.

Approximately, 35 percent of cancers are linked to dietary factors, so while not completely eliminating the risk of developing cancer, a healthy lifestyle including what we eat, may very well be helping us to win the battle against cancer.

No single food can prevent cancer, but the right combination of foods may help make a difference. Here are four 'cancer fighting' nutrients.

1. Phenolic antioxidants
Antioxidants may help fight cancer by ridding the body of free radicals before they can do their damage to cells. Phenolics are plant-based compounds that when activated in their absorbable forms may help prevent inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and infections.

One of the most promising sources is the humble apple, which proves that the old adage 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'', rings true. Phenolics in apples such as phloretin inhibits a protein called glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) and plays a role in advanced-stage cell growth in certain types of cancer. Another study suggests that apple phloretin significantly inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells, while not affecting normal cells.

Phenolics can also be found in other fruits such as berries. Anthocyanin, which is a phenolic in blackberries, lowers biomarkers for colon cancer. Another study demonstrates that the anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries can prevent the growth of breast cancer tumours in mice.

2. Folate
Naturally occurring folate is an important B vitamin that may help protect against cancers of the colon, rectum, and breast.

Fortified breakfast cereals and whole wheat products are good sources of folate. Other food sources of folate include melons, strawberries, asparagus and eggs. The best way to get folate is not from a tablet, but by eating enough fruits, vegetables, and enriched grain products. Naturally occurring folate is better absorbed by the body.

3. Fibre
Although technically not a nutrient, fibre does play a big role in our health, including fighting cancer. Fibre sources such as beans, peas, and lentils may help lower a person's risk of developing cancer.

Studies shows an association between higher legume consumption and lower risk of colorectal cancer. Another study showed the relationship between risk of developing breast cancer and fibre intake, in which people who ate diets high in fibre were 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not meet their daily fibre intake.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, kale, bok choy, spinach and cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts are so versatile in cooking and increased intake of these vegetables may help your body defend against cancers.

4. Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are important for our health. Our body cannot create or synthesise this group of nutrients and so we must ingest them through our diet. A study showed that people whose diets were high in fish had a 53 percent lower risk for colorectal cancer than those with a diet low in fish. The consumption of fish oil is also shown to have links to significantly lower risk for prostate cancer and colon cancers. Foods high in essential fatty acids include fish, flax seed, walnuts and soybean.

Dr Vincent discovered the world's most powerful antioxidants in Australian apples while undertaking research at the University of Newcastle. He has since translated his worldwide scientific breakthrough into a range of activated phenolic products to support good health and wellbeing.

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