How to Get Them: Swallowing them whole won’t do. The protective effect of cruciferous vegetables seems to occur when they are cut or chewed. They’re great in stir fry, as side dishes, or tossed into salads raw. Experiment with flavors like lemon or garlic.
“Vegetables can be a fabulous-tasting centerpiece of cuisine,” says Collins.
By sprinkling curcumin into your favorite dishes, you could be adding much more than a little zest to your meal -- you could add years to your life.
How It Works: Experts credit curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects for its ability to fight cancer.
“Most diseases are caused by chronic inflammation that persists over long periods of time,” says Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, a biochemist at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Recent studies have shown curcumin to interfere with cell-signaling pathways, thereby suppressing the transformation, proliferation, and invasion of cancerous cells.
Cancer-Fighting Abilities: Curcumin’s protective effects may extend to bladder and gastrointestinal cancers. Some say they don’t stop with these types of cancer.
“Among all the cancers we and others have examined, no cancer yet has been found which is not affected by curcumin. This is expected, as inflammation is the mediator for most cancer,” Aggarwal tells WebMD.
How to Get It: Curcumin flavors lots of popular Indian dishes, as it is the main ingredient in curry powder. It complements rice, chicken, vegetable, and lentils. Some chefs sprinkle the bright, yellow powder into recipes for a burst of color.
6. Ginger: This popular spice, long used to quell nausea, may soon be used to fight cancer, too.
How It Works: Working directly on cancer cells, researchers discovered ginger’s ability to kill cancer cells in two ways.
In apoptosis, the cancer cells essentially commit suicide without harming surrounding cells. In autophagy, “the cells are tricked into digesting themselves,” explains J. Rebecca Liu, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who has been studying ginger’s effects on ovarian cancer cells. While this preliminary evidence shows promise, ginger’s cancer-fighting effects must still be proven in animal and human trials.
Cancer-Fighting Abilities: Armed with ginger, ongoing research is taking aim against the most lethal of gynecological cancers: ovarian cancer.
“Most women [with ovarian cancer] develop resistance to conventional chemotherapy drugs,” Liu tells WebMD. Because ginger may kill cancer cells in more than one way, researchers are hopeful that patients would not develop resistance to it.
Because ginger’s effects on cancer haven’t been tested directly on human subjects, researchers can’t yet offer specific dietary recommendations.
“We don’t know how it’s metabolized,” Liu says. But that needn’t stop people from adding ginger to their diet. “We know it’s relatively nontoxic,” Liu tells WebMD.
How to Get It: Go beyond the obvious choices, like sipping ginger ale and eating gingerbread cookies. Countless soups, sumptuous marinades, and zesty sauces call for ginger.
By Elizabeth Heubeck, MA,
SOURCES: Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, PhD, MPH, RD, researcher, National Cancer Institute. Karen Collins, RD, nutritional advisor, American Institute for Cancer Research.
| Resources ||cidpusa Foundation For alternative medical research |