Natural nutrients can greatly reduce the risk of developing cancer, even in people who have the most deadly habits, such as smoking. One study found smokers with high levels of vitamin B6 and certain proteins in their blood had a 60 percent lower risk of getting lung cancer than smokers who were deficient in the nutrient. These seven nutrients allow you to enjoy delicious foods while building your defenses — even fighting the "Big C."
A German study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who had the highest blood levels of a type of vitamin K (K2) in the blood that's found in cheese had a 28 percent lower chance of dying of cancer than those with the lowest intake, and those with the highest levels had half the risk of dying of lung cancer than those with the lowest levels. In other studies, vitamin K has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and to encourage apoptosis — the process by which abnormal cells commit suicide.
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Vitamin D. A study by cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California found that high amounts of vitamin D could slash colorectal cancer rates by two-thirds. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, people with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by almost 40 percent when compared to patients with the lowest levels. Sunlight is turned into Vitamin D by the body, and the vitamin is also found in foods.
Vitamin B6. A Swedish analysis of 13 studies found that pyridoxal-phosphate (PLP), the main active coenzyme form of vitamin B6, lowered the risk of developing colon cancer by 21 percent. A European study of almost 400,000 adults found that adults with higher levels of B6 in their blood had half the risk of developing lung cancer as those with low B6 levels. B6 is found in vegetables, cereals, poultry, and fish. "Reducing risk by 50 percent is quite impressive," study author Dr. Paul Brennan with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, told CNN. "It's more than one would expect by differences in diet."
Quercetin. A flavonol found in plants, quercetin inhibits the ability of cancer cells to replicate themselves. It appears to be attracted to damaged cells, bonds to them, and prevents them from multiplying. Cancer.org reported that one study of people with a tendency to develop colon cancer found that a combination of quercetin and curcumin supplements decreased the number and size of precancerous polyps. One animal study discovered that quercetin prevented changes in the colon that lead to colon cancer.
Quercetin may help prevent breast, prostate, ovarian, and lung cancer. Onions, apple skins, and red wine are good sources, and quercetin can also be purchased as supplements.
EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). A polyphenol, EGCG is a powerful anticancer component of tea. Scientists have found that EGCG inhibits the growth of hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast and prostate cancers. Research also shows that EGCG inhibits leukemia, multiple myeloma, melanoma, and reduces the growth of lung cancer. "A recent study from Japan found that EGCG suppresses the metastasis of colon cancer," says Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of "The Blaylock Wellness Report." EGCG is found in green tea, and can be bought as a supplement.
Turmeric. Turmeric, the spice used in many Indian dishes, is believed to be an ally in preventing colon cancer because it inhibits the production of an enzyme related to inflammation (cyclo-oxygenase 2 or COX-2), which is believed to be high in cancer victims, as well as in those who suffer from inflammatory diseases. A study at the University of Missouri found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, decreased the incidence of progestin-accelerated breast tumors in animals. It also delayed onset of the disease and reduced the incidence of multiple tumors.
Ginger. Researchers have discovered that ginger helps kill cancer cells in two ways. First, it works by apoptosis in which the cancer cells commit suicide but leave healthy cells unharmed. Second, by autophagy, a process by which the cells digest themselves. Scientists are studying ginger's effect on ovarian cancer. “Most women develop resistance to conventional chemotherapy drugs,” Dr. J. Rebecca Liu told WebMD. "Because ginger may kill cancer cells in more than one way, researchers are hopeful that patients would not develop resistance to it."