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David Baxter

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Tea, Tomatoes and Garlic: Cancer-Busters in Your Pantry

Tea
We all know a cup of tea can warm the bones and soothe the spirit, but did you know it can also help fight cancer? Black and green teas contain flavonoids (check out our Cancer Prevention Primer for the meaning of this tongue-twister and others) which can battle cancer at every stage of its development. Scientists are looking for ways to maximize these anti-cancer effects through tea processing, preparation and brewing time.

Tomatoes
Don't skimp on the red sauce. Tomatoes are full of lycopene which protects against harmful cell damage from oxidation. What's more, cooking tomatoes makes lycopene easier for your body to use. So tomato sauces, soups and juices can contain five times more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Cook with a little fat, like olive oil, to boost absorption.

Garlic
Never mind vampires, garlic may ward off several cancers, particularly digestive tract ones. Garlic's got allyl sulfides which deliver a one-two-three punch against carcinogens: preventing some from forming, inhibiting others and ushering activated carcinogens out of the body.

The cancer-busters in tea, tomatoes and garlic are all phytochemicals ? the catchall term for a bunch of naturally-occuring compounds in foods. Check out our Cancer Prevention Primer for more info. And remember, most plant chemicals don't work solo. Eat a diet high in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), one of our Resource Associations, has great information on cancer and diet.
 

David Baxter

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Foods That Fight Cancer

Foods That Fight Cancer

The majority of the research on diet and cancer suggests that eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans will lower your risk of developing cancer.

Scientists have been studying the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods. They are trying to determine precisely how and why these foods can prevent or stop the development of tumors.

Here is a list of foods we at AICR get asked about most often. Click each one to learn what current science can tell us about its role in protecting our health.

No single food or food substances can protect you against cancer, but the right combination of foods a predominantly plant-based diet can. Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in many plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy.
 

David Baxter

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Joined
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Cancer Prevention Primer

Cancer Prevention Primer

Allyl sulfides
Found in the garlic and onion family, allyl sulfides increase enzymes that affect cancer-causing substances and help the body get rid of more of them.

Anthocyanin
A potent flavonoid that gives blueberries their deep blue hue. Scientists believe it may help the body fight aging, cancer, and heart disease, and improve vision.

Antioxidants
Occuring naturally in your body and certain foods, antioxidants neutralize the harmful effects of "free radicals"? toxic molecules that are created as part of normal cell function but may contribute to cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Carotenoids
A class of phytochemicals that gives fruits and vegetables their bright colors. Many are powerful antioxidants, like beta carotene which converts in the body into vitamin A.

Flavonoids
Found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as tea and red wine, flavonoids block free radicals, invade cancer cells and interrupt their cell division process, and boost immunity.

Lycopene
Tomatoes are loaded with this potent antioxidant. Lycopene is a carotenoid.

Phytochemicals
Sounds like something you'd use to treat your lawn. Wrong. Phytochemical (phyto is Greek for plant) is the catchall term for an array of natural substances in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Phytochemicals are the "stuff" of these foods ? the pigment that makes a tomato red, the flavor that makes an onion pungent, the microstructure that makes a walnut rough and leathery. They are different from vitamins and minerals because they have no known nutritional value. But scientists believe they are key weapons in our bodies' disease-fighting arsenals.
 

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