Print

Advice on Foods that Fight Disease

Written by Keith Rockmael

Self-help advice on what foods to buy to successfully boost your body's immune system. Your doctor will be pleased with the results!

More than 2,500 years ago Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." It has taken us about that long to see the truth in his words. While the idea of eating foods to prevent disease and preserve good health is not new, current science tells us which foods are our best bet for keeping the doctor at bay.

According to Health magazine, the following five foods are nutritional powerhouses:

Tomatoes
Good thing that Americans have an ongoing love affair with ketchup and tomato sauce, because tomatoes rank as one of the healthiest fruits around. They contain ample amounts of p-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which can escort nitrites out of your body before they combine with amines to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. A recent study in Italy found that people who ate raw tomatoes at least seven times a week halved their risk of many cancers. If you're not into tomatoes, green peppers, carrots and strawberries are suitable replacements.

Garlic
You can scare away countless vampires and possibly cut your risk of stomach cancer (some studies have shown by 40 percent) when you consume large amounts of garlic. The same chemicals in garlic that add tang to your marinara sauce also boost levels of enzymes that detoxify potential carcinogens. Other studies have shown that eating one clove of garlic a day can reduce cholesterol levels around 9 percent. Don't like garlic? Scallions and chives are good substitutes.

Grapes
Make a toast to the little guys on the vine. According to researchers, grapes contain a component known as resveratrol, which appears to inhibit the growth of tumors. Grapes also contain ellagic acid that blocks the production of "bad" cancer-causing enzymes. If no one will feed you grapes, strawberries, apples and raspberries also contain resveratrol.

Soybeans
Soybeans contain high amounts of anticarcinogens, particularly isoflavones. These isoflavones, most notably genistein, protect against cancer in several ways. In animals, genistein has been shown to act as an antiestrogen, which reduces the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer. Soybeans are also an excellent source of protein. If you're not into soybeans, try soymilk, miso (as in miso soup) and alfalfa sprouts.

Lemons and Oranges
Scientists have distinguished a substance called limonene that is abundant in lemons as well as oranges and limes. Limonene boosts the level of naturally occurring enzymes that may break down carcinogens and stimulate cancer-killing immune cells. Pure limonene has been shown to reduce tumors in mice. Though we're not exact duplicates for the little creatures, the orange juice-drinking mice developed 40 percent fewer early signs of cancer than the "juiceless" ones. If you don't want to suck any lemons, try munching on a celery stick or cooking with cardamom, both of which are rich in limonene.