A clean diet promises to take care of a host of health issues, by strengthening immunity. Did you know that there are certain foods that possess cancer-fighting properties? Shweta Mahadik, a clinical dietitian at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, says that though there is no conclusive proof that a particular type of food can prevent or stop cancer, a healthy diet of vegetables and fruits are critical agents in preventing significant illnesses, including those of the heart, diabetes, and possibly cancer.

According to Mahadik, a diet that has a good mix of vegetables and fruits, including plant-based items like broccoli, berries, and garlic, have shown some of the most vital links to cancer prevention. “They are low in calories and fat, and are also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that may help reduce cancer risk,” she says.

Ahead, she shares the five superfoods that one should add to their diet to be able to prevent cancer; read on.

Flaxseed: Flaxseed contains high lignans that protect against estrogen-dependent cancers like breast cancer. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are among the few essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA sources, which shield against cancer cells responsible for breast cancer.

Turmeric: Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that can inhibit cancer cells, such as breast, gastrointestinal, lung and skin cancer. Studies have found that it can help significantly fight and slow the spread of breast cancer due to its potent cell protectant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Flaxseed contains high lignans that protect against estrogen-dependent cancers like breast cancer. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Blueberries: Blueberries are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can aid in breast cancer prevention. The phytochemicals in blueberries work together to prevent the growth and spread of various forms of breast cancer. They are also rich in antioxidants like ellagic acid, which have anti-cancer properties.

Broccoli: It contains cancer-fighting compounds known as Indole-3-Carbinol that help alter estrogen metabolism and suppress breast tumor cell growth. They also protect against hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, cervix, and prostate.

Mushrooms: They have shown anti-inflammatory, antiviral, cholesterol-reducing, and immune-enhancing properties, helping to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Generally, mushrooms are a good source of dietary niacin (vitamin B3) and riboflavin (vitamin B2).

“A study of Korean breast cancer patients also found consumption of mushrooms to be associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer. Shiitake mushrooms are widely available fresh or dried in grocery stores. They have been found to inhibit increases in tumor volume of human breast cancer cells implanted in mice,” the expert explains.

She adds that “good nutrition” is essential, “especially for cancer patients”.

“That means a balanced, minimally processed plant-heavy diet, which can benefit your overall health and energy levels, support your immune system, help you manage symptoms during treatment and promote survivorship.”

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