Health: Humble turmeric and other foods that can help fight cancer

Feb 06, 2017, 11:55 IST | mid-day online correspondent

spices, garlic, turmeric

Spices like garlic and turmeric can boost immune system, improve the liver's detoxifying potential, curcumin in turmeric is useful to inhibit cancer growth and disarm the body of several carcinogens, researchers have found. A team of experts at a reputed American University discovered that, the main ingredient in turmeric (haldi), a chemical compound called curcumin, enhances the effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, which is commonly used to treat head and neck cancers, in addition to radiation. Curcumin has been found to help curb the growth of breast, colon and pancreatic cancers.

Curcumin is believed to work by suppressing a protein that controls cell growth. Garlic protects against tumour formation and inhibits the growth of established tumours.

Other foods that help in effective cancer prevention or treatment...

Scientists from a reputed medical institution in Russia discovered that compounds extracted from parsley and dill seeds can restrict the growth of cancerous cells.

Parsley and dill seeds

Parsley and dill seeds contain apigenin, a naturally occurring, plant derived flavonoid, capable of killing up to 86 per cent of cancer cells. Dried parsley contains apigenin in large quantities kill a variety of cancer cells including, breast, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and colon.

Dill seed oil has been termed 'chemoprotective', offering protection during exposure to daily carcinogens such as air pollution, car exhaust and cigarette smoke among others. The enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, present in dill aids in attaching the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules thus making them antioxidants.

fruits and vegetables

>> Fruits and vegetables such as cherries, berries, beetroot, carrots, tomoatoes among others help in fighting skin, prostate, lung and breast cancer. They a rich source of Vitamin A and E, beta-carotene (which protects skin) and also contain a high amount of antioxidants. According to recent medical studies, Lycopene, a naturally occuring chemical present in tomatoes can effectively reduce risk of prostate, lung, mouth and throat cancer.

>> According a recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund, whole grains like oats, brown rice, barley, wholegrain bread and pasta, millet contain rich amounts of fibre, which aid in bowel movements, thus reducing the contact time between the bowel and carcinogenic elements in it, if any. They are effective in fighting against, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.


>> Oily fish like salmon, mackarel, herring, kippers and sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin D, all of which have anti-cancer properties.


>> Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, mustard are loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and minerals like Selenium, Zinc and Di-indolylmethane (DIM), which converts excess active estrogen into anti-proliferative and protective estrogen that helps eliminate damaged and cancerous cells. They are effective against prostate cancer.

soya beans

>> Soya beans, misoh, tempeh, chickpeas, lentils are full of phytoestrogens, which help block estrogen receptors from powerful hormone-disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen such as dioxins and some pesticides. Researches show they help against colorectal, breast, prostate cancer.

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