I’m sure I’m not the first person to remind you to eat your vegetables. But everyone who has ever told you to eat your veggies from your mom to your aunt to the guy on last night’s news broadcast really does have your best interests at heart.
Vegetables provide you with a number of healthy benefits. They’re rich in fiber, which aids digestion. They’ve got plenty of vitamins and nutrients that will support your immune system. And they are so low in calories you can eat until you feel full without the worry of putting on extra pounds.
And here’s the best part: THEY’RE CANCER PROTECTORS!
Nearly all vegetables are rich in antioxidants. And it’s been proven that antioxidants are effective at neutralizing free radicals in your body. As I have mention in the past it’s these free radical scavengers that can lead to cellular damage and possibly some form of cancer. So, it makes sense that eating more vegetables can not only be good for you…but help prevent cancer.
Vegetables That Deliver The Biggest Blow Against Cancer
All vegetables are good vegetables, and variety is the key to healthy eating habits. Still, some vegetables pack a more powerful anti-cancer punch. For the best results, try eating the following kinds of vegetables more often.
Garlic: This herb has a long culinary and medical history. Egyptians used it to keep themselves strong. World War II doctors used it to prevent infections in wounds. Now, researchers are saying we should all be using it to protect ourselves from a number of cancers. First, garlic is loaded with antioxidants, so it prevents the free radical damage that can lead to cancer over time. Garlic is also an anti-mutagenic—that means it keeps your cells from mutating into cancerous cells. Studies show that regular garlic consumption can cut your relative risk of some cancers by almost half.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage do contain antioxidants, but they really help fight cancer on a different level. They contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that helps balance your body’s hormone levels. Aggressive forms of estrogen can contribute to prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. Indole-3-carbinol helps to bind those dangerous estrogens and remove them from your body.
Green and Orange Vegetables: Dark, leafy green vegetables and bright orange vegetables are both good sources of vitamin C. I’m sure you know that vitamin C is an antioxidant, but it also fights cancer in a different way. At the end of the DNA strings in your cells are a kind of cap called a telomere. The telomere protects the DNA and helps your cells replicate correctly. As you age, your telomeres become shorter and your cells become more vulnerable to disease. But vitamin C can help keep your telomeres longer, which will keep you healthy longer.
Try adding a good variety of colorful vegetables to your meals every day—aim to eat five servings to get the greatest anti-cancer effects.
Mark Rosenberg, MD
photo credit: elcivics.com