Chemotherapy is a major conventional treatment for cancer. It’s used against many types, and in most cases, chemotherapy is combined with another treatment. But of course, all of this comes with a cost.
Possible side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, pain, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, fatigue, and fertility issues – just to name a few.
Yet, despite the unpleasant side effects, chemotherapy isn’t necessarily fool-proof. Cancer recurrence is very, very real. And while it’s impossible to determine your risk, food can help where chemotherapy can’t.
Does chemotherapy work?
According to 2012 study in the journal Nature, chemotherapy has its weak spots. In an experiment at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, researchers examined the cancer cells of brain tumors in mice. Afterward, conventional chemotherapy was applied.
The result? Chemotherapy did a stellar job at successfully destroying cancer cells. However, the growth and spreading of cancer was only temporary. Stem cells that survived chemotherapy were able to spark new tumor growth later on.
Basically, it comes down to controlling those stem cells. This is a must for cancer survivors! That’s why it is so important to live a lifestyle that reduces the risk.
The bottom line
This is just one study on one type of cancer. It’s not safe to assume that the same outcome will happen in every other case. Yet, what we do know is that recurrence is always a possibility.
So whether you’re focused on fighting cancer, avoiding recurrence, or preventing cancer to begin with, it helps to know the foods that have anti-cancer benefits.
Top foods to combat cancer
Never forget that food is medicine. By eating exceptionally well, you can help keep cancer at arm’s length. And if you’re going through chemotherapy? Optimal nutrition will aid in the management of side effects.
Carrots can do more than support healthy eyes. This orange root veggie is teeming with vitamin A, an essential nutrient, and antioxidant. Eating carrots has been proven to reduce the risk for diseases like urothelial and pancreatic cancers. In a 2015 study, researchers even found that consumption lowers gastric cancer risk by 26 percent!
Researchers have found that consuming tomatoes have the potential to protect men from prostate cancer. The fruit helps defend the DNA in your cells from damage that leads to cancer. Tomatoes are also rich in antioxidants and aid your body in the absorption of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant.
When regularly consumed, tomatoes can help lower your overall risk of cancer. By regulating hormones, releasing toxins, and reducing levels of cholesterol, it is a valuable addition to your daily diet.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, are one of the most powerful cancer-fighting superfoods. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers and other antioxidants such as beta-carotene and sulforaphane.
Biologically active phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables such as isothiocyanates help to break down potential carcinogens, stop the formation of blood vessels in tumors and protects cells from DNA damage. They also contain other phytochemical known as indol-3-carbinol which help prevent estrogen driven cancers.
Did you know that pineapple is the only food with bromelain? This enzyme has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and immune-boosting effects. During chemotherapy, bromelain lends a hand by helping normal cells avoid DNA damage. It also promotes cancer cell death.
Kale isn’t called a superfood for no reason. This powerhouse of a veggie has flavonoids that can find and destroy free radicals. Other leafy greens, such as spinach and cabbage, provide similar benefits.
Dark red grapes are loaded with powerful flavonoid antioxidants that have cancer preventive properties. Also, dark grapes contain resveratrol and ellagic acid, compounds that reduce the growth of tumors by blocking enzymes needed by cancer cells.
Resveratrol activates the p53 gene and induces apoptosis of cancerous cells. Mutation of the p53 gene is considered to be the primary cause of tumorigenesis.
Blueberries are amazing for reducing inflammation. In fact, they can decrease the expression of enzymes needed for the development of ovarian cancer. Additional benefits have been found for inhibiting the growth of cervical cancer cells, according to a 2017 study.
Sensing a theme here? It’s all about fruits and vegetables. When paired with exercise and routine check-ups, a healthy diet can do wonders for preventing cancer recurrence.