HealWithFood.org's Guide to Preventing Colon Cancer   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

Best Foods for Colon Cancer Prevention (Cont'd)

Here's a list of some of the best foods to eat if your goal is to prevent colon cancer. These foods are loaded with powerful anti-cancer nutrients and phytochemicals such as curcumin, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamins C and E, and fiber.

Note that this is the second page of an in-depth article on the best foods for colon cancer prevention. In case you missed the first page, you can access it by clicking here.

#12:  Turmeric

Turmeric has strong anti-cancer activity.

Turmeric, a spice that gives its yellow color to curries and many other foods, has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a vast range of conditions and diseases. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay greater attention to this extraordinary root plant of the ginger family. According to recent studies, turmeric possesses a variety of anti-cancer properties that may make it effective against many types of cancer, including colon cancer. Turmeric has been found to contain a compound that can identify potential cancer cells by their abnormal chemistry and consequently induce self-destruction of these harmful cells. Furthermore, turmeric contains strong antioxidant compounds and may prevent nitrosamine formation and inhibit aflatoxin production.

#13:  Watercress

Watercress is an anti-cancer food par excellence. One study found that watercress extract reduced DNA damage in human colon cancer cells and helped control their growth and spread. Watercress contains phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a mustard oil that is known to have significant anti-cancer properties. But the anti-cancer properties of watercress may also be attributable to the high levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lutein contained in these little peppery leaves. Research shows that consumption of watercress could increase blood levels of lutein and beta-carotene by up to 100% and 33%, respectively. Watercress is available in many supermarkets year round, but you can also grow it in your garden.

Broccoli is packed with carotenoids, vitamin C, and indoles.

#14:  Broccoli

Thanks to the nutritional value of broccoli this cruciferous vegetable may be one of the best foods you can eat if you want to reduce your risk of colon cancer. Broccoli contains virtually zero fat and ranks low on the glycemic index. It is a great source of carotenoids and vitamin C, and it also contains some vitamin E. Further, broccoli is one of the best dairy-free sources calcium. Last but not least, broccoli is a great source of indoles, natural compounds that are believed to inhibit cell proliferation of colon cancer cells. To get the most out of broccoli's health benefits, choose organically grown plants; they are typically more nutrient-dense and contain fewer harmful substances than conventionally grown produce.

#15:  Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables and contain a slew of nutrients that have been shown to help protect against colon cancer. The pink, orange, and yellow varieties are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene), but sweet potatoes also provide plenty of vitamin C, vitamin B6, as well as fiber. What's more, they contain unique root proteins which, according to preliminary studies, may have significant antioxidant activity. In addition, sweet potatoes are typically low in pesticides, even the non-organically grown produce.

#16:  Raspberries

Daily consumption of raspberries can reduce colon cancer risk.

Raspberries are bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet they are very low in calories. Clinical studies indicate that daily consumption of red raspberries can slow the growth of abnormal colon cells. This effect is most probably due to raspberries' high concentration of ellagic acid. While ellagic acid is found in a number of foods, red raspberries are by far the best source of this miraculous substance (1,500 mcg per gram of dry weight fruit extract). Ellagic acid is a proven anti-carcinogen, anti-mutagen, and inhibitor of cancer. In some cases, it has also been able to cause apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. Further, the ellagic acid found in red raspberries retains its potency through heating and freezing. So, regardless of whether you eat your raspberries fresh, frozen or heated, you will reap their cancer-fighting benefits.

#17:  Kale

One of the lesser-known health benefits of kale is its potential ability to help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. In addition to providing a great source of dietary fiber, this relatively unknown member of the cabbage family is packed with anti-cancer nutrients such as vitamin C and beta-carotene (kale contains ten times the beta-carotene of broccoli). As a result of its high content of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as a number of other antioxidants, kale is at the top of the list of vegetables with the highest ORAC rating. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measure of the total antioxidant power of foods. The tender young leaves of kale can be eaten raw, for example as a substitute for lettuce in salads. This hearty green leafy vegetable can also be transformed into a delicious warm dish by sautéing the leaves and mixing them with chopped onions, crushed garlic and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide protection against colon cancer.

#18:  Brussels Sprouts

If you don't mind their strong taste, don't hesitate to include Brussels sprouts in your diet. A number of studies have found an inverse correlation between a diet high in cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, and the risk of colon cancer. The mechanisms by which Brussels sprouts exert their colon cancer effects may include alterations to the metabolism of carcinogens and reduction of free radical damage. Further, these little green veggies are low in calories, have a low glycemic rating, and are typically low in pesticides.

#19:  Fish Eggs

A little goes a long way when it comes to fish eggs. Fish eggs are one of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids which have been associated with a lowered risk of colon cancer. Ounce for ounce, fish eggs contain even more omega-3's than the fattiest fish. A study, which analyzed the roe of fifteen marine animals, found that the roe of lumpsucker, hake, and salmon were the richest in terms of omega-3 fatty acids.

#20:  Arugula

While extremely low in calories, this aromatic salad green is loaded with health promoting phytochemicals, and research suggests that incorporating arugula into your diet may help reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. Arugula, also known as rocket, is a particularly good source of glucosinolates. When arugula is chewed, the glucosinolates it contains turn into isothiocyanates with the help of an enzyme called myrosinase. Isothiocyanates have been shown to neutralize carcinogens and inhibit cancer cell proliferation.

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For more information on the nutritional approach to preventing colon cancer, see: