Dr. Michael Greger remarked in a Daily Mail article that the consumption of wholefood vegetarian diets can reduce the risks of various forms of cancer. “Food is the single greatest way our bodies face exposure to the outside environment,” explained the author of the 2016 bestseller “How Not To Die”. He warned about the carcinogenic chemicals in dairy products, meat, and processed foods. Then he discussed studies from different organizations that suggest wholefood plant diets can protect against cancer.
The Iowa Women’s Health Study has researched the diets of more than 35,000 women for many years now. They determined that eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables seemed to lower the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the seventh most common type of cancer in the United States.
In a related study, the Mayo Clinic found that eating more servings of green, leafy vegetables every week reduced the risk of lymphoma by nearly half. Cruciferous vegetables happen to possess large amounts of antioxidants that are theorized to fight cancer. (Related: Moringa seeds found to prevent the spread of breast cancer cells to surrounding tissue.)
Lymphoma is not the only cancer that can be prevented with a vegetarian diet. According to a third study on diets and cancers, people who consume plant foods are more resistant to all forms of cancer, especially against blood cancers such as leukemia. It’s corroborated by the results of a related experiment by Dr. Dean Ornish. While studying the effect of plant-based diets on heart disease, Dr. Ornish investigated the effects of those same diets on prostate cancer patients. His findings suggest that vegetarian diets reduced the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) associated with prostate cancer without requiring surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. You don’t even need to eat that much in the way of veggies. According to the biggest study on diet and bladder cancer, adding two percent plant protein to the diet resulted in a 23 percent improvement.
So what vegetable superfoods are best to fend off particular cancers?
For colorectal cancers, it’s legumes and leafy vegetables. Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and split peas are brimming with anti-cancer compounds called phytates. Spices are also attributed with anti-cancer properties. Turmeric, for example, is an important ingredient in Indian curries and Okinawan tea. If you’re a pre-menopausal woman who’s worried about breast cancer, a daily serving of beans or lentils can cut the risk by two-thirds. Adding legumes or whole grains like bulgur wheat and brown rice to your meals will raise your protection to more than 90 percent.
Mushrooms are rich in amino acids that supercharge the immune system. According to Australian researchers, they can protect against viral infections and breast cancer in women. Citrus fruits have a phytonutrient called hesperidin. In addition to healing and shielding your DNA against carcinogens, citrus zest also lower the risk of skin and breast cancers.
The entire allium family share anti-cancer properties. Like turmeric, red onion has quercetin, a phytonutrient that reduces the growth of bower cancer polyps. Garlic exhibits similar suppressive properties. Cruciferous vegetables can minimize the risk of colon cancer for weeks after consumption. Brussels sprouts, especially, is an anti-cancer super weapon. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are almost as good. Soya bean and flaxseed have phytoestrogens. Different from oestrogens, phytoestrogens do the work of two by reducing the risk of breast tumors and menopausal hot-flush. Then there is the ever-popular antioxidant-rich apple. Eating one a day (peel and pulp and all) actually keeps various cancers away by reactivating an anti-tumor gene called maspin.