5 Cancer Preventing Meals
In an age of fancy health buzzwords like antioxidants, gluten-free, GMO, free range, sustainable, organic and so forth, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s bad for you and what’s good for you. Are those green beans next to your roasted chicken cancer causing or cancer preventing? What’s worse for you, fat or sugar? What exactly is GMO? I’m sure more than one of these questions has popped into your head at one point. To be honest, with the constant evolution of the American agricultural, food and science industries, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of everything that’s going on with your food. It has the tendency to completely change overnight. And if you feel like you’re having trouble tracking what’s healthy and what’s not, you’re not alone. We’re right there with you. But with a little research and some common knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of some knock out meal combinations that have a ton of positive health boosters and cancer fighting elements. No matter what the latest buzzword is, these fail-proof, commonly found foods will have you feeling your best without having to hunt for it in strange smelling health food stores.
Meat & Potatoes
For the longest time, red meat has been thought to be synonymous with cancer causing, which stinks for most red-blooded Americans who make it a frequent item on their household menus. It’s hard to imagine something humans have been eating for thousands of years could be all that harmful but according to the American Institute of Cancer Research, red meat and processed meats like sausage, pastrami and ham are a high risk for colorectal cancer. In short, it does a lot of damage to the digestive tract. If you’re thinking you can never, ever enjoy a gigantic juicy steak or succulent pork chop again, hold your horses. You can eat a little bit once a week, about 18 ounces, and reduce your risk. Another recent scientific study found that potatoes, when served alongside red meat, actually greatly hinder the risk for cancer. According to a Huffington Post article, “the resistant starch found in root vegetables, grain and green beans may actually reverse some of the damaging effects red meat can have on cells.” That seems like some promising news! The best sources of these starch resistant foods include slightly green bananas, whole grains, beans, chickpeas and lentils. And whether you’re eating red meat or not, those foods are a great addition to any diet.
Rice & Beans
This classic combination has been leaving cultures all around the world happy and healthy for thousands of years. There’s just something about the complimentary mix of light rice with the denser and more flavorful bean that makes for an unbeatable duo. The textures are just amazing too. Way more than enriched rice, healthy brown rice is an unstoppable force of amino acids, vitamins and nutrients that help your body maintain healthy skin and hair, balance the nervous system and improve eyesight. Now beans on the other hand are a huge source of antioxidants (hey, buzzword). Apparently the darker the bean, the more they contain too. Opposite of red meat, beans are a huge promoter of colon function and a major digestion aid. Hey, you know the song. One of the major reasons they’re so good for you is because they’re a major source of folate, which has been linked to the reduction in risk for pancreatic cancer. As a duo, rice and beans team up together and form a complete protein that is high in fiber—promoting colon function and therefore reducing cancer risk.
Burger & Ketchup
This one might be a hard one to swallow, but believe it or not, ketchup actually does have benefits. Don’t let any toddler hear you say that or you may never be able to get them to eat anything else. To get down to the science, the more you cook tomatoes, the more they release a chemical called lycopene that blocks cell-damaging free radicals and therefore helps block against certain cancers. We’re gonna give it to you straight about this though—you can’t just live off a diet of hamburgers and ketchup and say you’ll forever be cancer free. It just doesn’t work that way. Plus, ketchup often contains bad things like added sugar, high fructose corn syrup and tons of preservatives. Go with the healthiest one you can find and just keep that in mind the next time you bit into a big, juicy beef patty. Also keep that in mind for any sort of cooked tomato food like soup, sauces and stews.
Yogurt & Berries
You’re in luck with this one, because these fruit favorites happen to still be in season right now. The superstars of this fruit family are mostly cranberries and blueberries which, as the ones containing the most antioxidants, also have the most cancer-fighting proponents. Take a scientific study done a few years ago. Tumor ridden rats were fed black raspberries on a daily basis to see if they’re as cracked up as they have thought to be. What they found was astonishing, where the rats cancer of the esophagus had reduced by 60% and the tumors of the colon had reduced by 80%. Yogurt is along the same lines, with loads of good bacteria that maintain digestive health. But yogurt has also been found to reduce risk of breast cancer as well as colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. Plus, it’s super easy to make homemade yogurt!
Wild Salmon & Spinach
Wild Salmon, way more so than farm-raised, has been linked to good health for decades. But even more than its source of fish oil and omega-3s, it is one of the best sources of Vitamin D you can find and since many different cancers, including breast and colon cancer, have been linked to low Vitamin D levels, we figured this was an important one to include. You can make a meal of it by including some raw, steamed or sautéed spinach, which has been found to deter tumor growth, cancer cell growth and DNA destruction. Both of them promote brain activity and salmon has been found to have alzheimer’s resistant properties. Plus, very few foods complement each other in taste as well as wild salmon and spinach!