You are what you eat. The foods you put in your body affect whole-body health and that’s especially true for the intestines where food spends the most time.
These 5 Power Foods as part of a balanced diet can have a huge impact on intestinal health and thwart intestinal cancer.
Power Food 1 — Wild Blueberries
Although all cultivated blueberries are rich in antioxidants wild blueberries up the game. Antioxidants work by bolstering the body’s defenses against potentially dangerous substances called free radicals.
Free radicals damage the body’s cells through oxidation, the same process that rusts metal and turns butter rancid. Antioxidants, such as selenium and beta-carotene, help reinforce this protection.
Need more proof? Blueberries also contain pterostilbene which was found by a Rutgers University study to inhibit colon cancer.
Power Food 2 — Broccoli
Yum. Hear the kids celebrating this news.
In mice grafted with human prostate tumors and then treated with one of these cancer-killing substances, tumors began to shrink to half their size after 31 days. In another experiment, mice engineered to be a model for an inherited colon polyp condition that is at high risk for developing into colon cancer were fed the antioxidant called sulforaphane, also released when chewing cruciferous vegetables. The mice developed about half as many polyps as expected.
The chemical composition of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is complex, which makes it hard to determine which compound or combination of compounds may provide protection against cancer. Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods may be the best way to get the necessary components.
Power Food 3 — Brown Rice
In addition to having a richer, nuttier flavor depth than it’s pale counterpart, brown rice is high in fiber (3.5 grams of fiber in one cup) and fiber helps prevent intestinal cancer.
Diets rich in vegetables and high-fiber grains, such as brown rice, have been shown to lower colon cancer risk. Fiber appears to exert its protective effects in at least two ways: First, fiber decreases fecal transit time by increasing the bulk of stools. Second, that extra bulk dilutes the concentration of other harmful substances in the colon, including carcinogens, weakening their potential impact.
“Eating a plant-based diet rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber, and other healthful plant compounds is the best way to prevent cancer.” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society.
Power Food 4 — Chicken
Eating meats low in fat such as chicken and many fish has been found to prevent cancer.
High fat consumption increases the amount of substances that are released into the digestive tract called bile acids. Bile acids help break down fats. When they get into the colon, the large amount of bile acids may be converted to secondary bile acids, which could promote tumor growth, especially of the cells that line the colon.
Power Food 5 — Yogurt
Believe the hype. In addition to providing essentials for your body such as protein, calcium and B-2/B-12 vitamins, probiotic yogurt delivers friendly bacteria to the intestinal tract that not only can promote intestinal health by replenishing the normal flora within the gastrointestinal tract, but also boost the immune system and slow the movement of food through the bowel.
It’s these benefits that researchers from the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University say might be responsible for preventing colon cancer.
A balanced diet is key. The body thrives on a diversity of nutrients found in a spectrum of foods. These foods though, are the kingpins and there are plenty of similar foods that contain similar cancer-battling properties.