Eat to beat cancer

Eat to beat cancer

At 11-years-old, most girls are reading books about princesses and vampires, not about cancer.

But Toral Shah, founder of The Urban Kitchen, became fascinated by the disease as a child, when she read the story of a surgeon whose child had died of leukaemia. She took a degree in Cell Biology, for which she specialised in cancer, but alongside her passion for cooking grew and she studied at Le Cordon Bleu during evenings and holidays.

Then, in 1999 while Toral studied for her finals, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She nursed her mother by cooking immune-boosting foods and soon became convinced that they helped her beat the disease. And when Toral herself fell ill with and recovered from breast cancer, aged just 29, she was convinced that the healthy meals she cooked herself had enhanced her immune system. Of course, cancer can be just down to our genes. But according to Toral, who spoke recently at the London Health Week, 80 per cent of cancers could be determined by lifestyle, with up to 30 per cent of this down to what we eat.

The Telegraph

Eat the rainbow

Fruits and vegetables really are as important as people keep telling us. Think of the seven colours of the rainbow, with the addition of white, for example onion and garlic, and include some form of fruit and vegetables from each colour as much as possible in your diet. Think purple aubergines, blueberries, grapes and sweet potatoes. Additionally, don’t stick to the five-a-day guideline, as we should really be eating more. Try seven to nine portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Squeeze lemon juice over your greens

Dark leafy greens such as broccoli, kale and sprouts are great choices because they are full of nutritious benefits. Squeezing lemon juice over them adds Vitamin C, which helps the vegetables release their goodness and your body to absorb it.

Two Brazil nuts a day keep the doctor away

The Selenium found in Brazil nuts has been found to prevent and fight cancer.

Spice it up

Instead of adding salt to meals, add flavour using spices such as turmeric, ginger and cumin, which have cancer-fighting properties.

Cook or crush tomatoes

This releases the lycopene, an antioxidant, which is believed to slow the growth of — and even kill — certain cancers. 

Don’t forget your fibre

The Western diet is filled with refined flours and most of us are not eating enough fibre. Fibre is deeply important as it attracts waste products inside our body and helps get rid of them.

Make oily fish your best friend

We are meant to have balanced omega-3 and -6 levels but most people have higher levels of omega-6 (from cooking oils, margarine, biscuits etc) than omega-3. Increase your levels of omega-3 by eating oily fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and leafy greens.

Chop or crush onion and garlic

These are some of the best cancer preventing foods because of their organosulfur compounds that are thought to inhibit cancer growth and for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Chopping or crushing them releases their goodness and eating garlic raw can also be extremely beneficial — one study found eating it twice a week halved the risk of lung cancer.

Bask in the sun for 15 minutes

Try to get as much sun exposure on 40 per cent of your body during the warmer months, preferably for 15 minutes. We can get some Vitamin D from our diet as well. Toral suggests “oily fish such as salmon sardines and mackerel along with eggs, fortified cereals and other products, mushrooms and cheese”. If you are not getting enough from your diet, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement of 10 mg per day.
 

 

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