As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so my blog today is specific to protecting yourself against the development of not only breast cancer but other cancers and life threatening diseases by eating foods that contain immune-boosting micronutrients. These foods are what Joel Furhman have named G-BOMBS, which I find an easy acronym to remember when grocery shopping for these disease preventing foods. The following foods are described in Fuhrman’s book “Super Immunity”, and the following information is directly excerpt from Fuhrman’s newsletter entitled “Healthy Times”.
G = Greens
Green vegetables (the cruciferous family in particular) contain anti-cancer compounds and substances that protect blood vessels; they also promote healthy vision and reduce diabetes risk. Cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals inhibit a wide range of cancer-promoting cellular processes, including angiogenesis; the angiogenesis inhibitors found in cruciferous vegetables prevent new blood vessel growth, which is needed for tumor growth and fat tissue growth. Eating cruciferious vegetables regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast cancer and has even been shown to increase survival in women after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
B = Beans
Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch; carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. The fiber and resistant starch in beans reduce total the number of calories absorbed from beans, reduce cholesterol levels, and are converted by healthy gut bacteria into many substances that protect against colon cancer. Eating fiber-rich beans regularly dramatically lowers colon cancer risk, and a recent analysis of 10 scientific studies has shown that the higher your fiber intake, the lower your risk of breast cancer.
O = Onions
Onions, leeks, garlic shallots, chives, and scallions not only lend great flavor to meals, they have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. These vegetables are known for their characteristic (and eye-irritating) organosulfur compounds, which slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells – eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with reduced risk of digestive cancers. These vegetables also contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that contribute to their anti-cancer properties.
M – Mushrooms
In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (which equates to about one button mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer! All types of mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties. Plus, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors – compounds that can block the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors are thought to be largely responsible for the preventative effects of mushrooms against breast cancer. Even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, Cremini, and Portobello) have high anti-aromatase activity. Mushrooms also contain powerful angiogenesis inhibitors.
B = Berries (and Pomegranate)
Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer, protect the brain against oxidative damage and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berries and pomegranate are anti-angiogenic foods, and have anto-inflammatory effects that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. Pomegranate (similar to mushrooms) is one of the few foods that contain natural aromatase inhibitors – substances that inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk.
S = Seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy fat sources that increase the absorption of nutrients in vegetables in addition to supplying their own spectrum of micronutrients including plant sterols (which help to reduce cholesterol), minerals, and antioxidants. Some seeds – sesame and flax in particular – are rich in lignin, plant estrogens that protect against breast cancer; in one fascinating study, women were given flax seeds daily after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and reduced growth and increased death of their tumor cells was found just after 4-5 weeks.
For delicious recipes using G-BOMBS, check out the Lisa’s Lentils Recipe Website.
Have a great week everyone!