The scientific community has identified many naturally occurring substances in plant foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds) with the power to diffuse potential carcinogens. Some of these nutrients and natural phytochemicals seek out toxins and usher them from the body before they can cause cell damage that may lead to cancer. Others seem to make it easier for the body to make repairs at the cellular level. Still, others may help stop cancer cells from reproducing. Even after a cell begins to experience damage that can lead to cancer, what you eat and drink, and how you live can still help short-circuit the cancer processes.
We recommend a mostly plant-based diet, rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. The best way to provide the body with phytochemicals and antioxidants is to eat a balanced diet that includes whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals that have the potential to stimulate the immune system, slow the growth rate of cancer cells and prevent DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Scientists have found that the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals from plant foods work together to fight disease. Many phytochemicals work as antioxidants.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants protect the body's cells from oxidative damage resulting from the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe. Preventing this type of damage might help protect us from cancer. A steady supply of antixoidants from our food (no supplements) is needed to provide protection because of the body's continuous production of oxidative damage. Some vitamins like Vitamins A, C, and E contain antioxidants, but most antioxidants come from phytochemicals.
Scientists are still discovering different phytochemicals! So far, thousands have been identified. Click here for a list of phytochemical sources and what they can do for your body.
For questions regarding nutrition as prevention, contact our dietitian at 414-291-1526