“Eat your fruits and vegetables” is one of the most common phrases associated with healthy eating – and with good reason. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can help prevent heart disease, control blood pressure, and keep your digestive system in proper working order. Now, science is revealing yet another miraculous benefit of a plant-rich diet – one that could be the difference between life and death.
Fruits and Vegetables Fight Against Cancer Cells
Several studies have shown that eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help prevent the formation and growth of cancerous tumors. There are over 100 types of cancer, and nearly any part of the body can be infected. A plant based diet has shown enormous potential for helping to prevent all types of cancer.
While this may sound frightening, nearly every human being has cancer cells somewhere within their body. For example, by age 70, microscopic cancerous tumors can be detected in virtually everyone’s thyroid glands. Thankfully, these microscopic clusters of cancer cells – often barely 10,000 strong – rarely pose a threat. In fact, without a substantial blood supply, these cancerous tumors cannot grow any larger than the tip of a ballpoint pen.
However, sometimes, cancer cells obtain that much-needed blood supply by releasing certain angeogenic factors, which are chemicals that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels directly into the tumor. A key angeogenic factor for the blood supply of a cancer cell is known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). And many scientific studies beam hopeful as they discover that particular phytonutrients in different fruits and vegetables seem to have an effect on suppressing the cancer-feeding action of VEGF.
The Secret Life of Fruits and Vegetables
Berries, broccoli, beans, fruit, spices and even tea contain large amounts of certain phytonutrients that research is showing to have a blocking effect when it comes to cancerous tumor growth and blood supply. While VEGF stimulates the growth of new capillaries to feed the tumor, the growth of these vessels can be significantly slowed by exposing the expanding network of capillaries to various plant compounds, such as apigen or luteolin (found in foods such as celery, bell peppers, and even citrus fruits). In fact, a review by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ College of Pharmacy at Northeast Ohio Medical concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support the theory that vegetables and fruits have a unique ability to suppress the growth of breast cancer and other cancerous tumors.
Laboratory testing has also uncovered a huge benefit of consuming strawberries and other berries. A phytonutrient found in strawberries is capable not only of slowing the growth of a blood vessel network for a cancer cell, but seems to also shrink it back down to nearly nothing.
How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Your Cancer Cells At Bay
Although she may not have recognized the true value of her words, your mother was definitely right when she nagged you about finishing all of your fruits and vegetables on your plate. Ensuring your diet is plant-rich may not only maintain overall health, but it may also be the best way to prevent the growth and spread of cancer. Here are a few tips to get you started on the track to “veggifying” your diet:
- Keep fruit in plain sight. That way, you are more likely to eat it. On the dining table, coffee table, or on top of the fridge are some good examples.
- Try something new. Rather than giving up fruits and vegetables out of boredom, try some exotic fruits from specialty supermarkets, or visit a site like Lean On Life to find some exciting vegetable-centric recipes.
- A little bit at every meal. This is key. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Serving up exciting stir fries, salads, or other fruit- and vegetable-rich fare is the simplest way to do this.
Fruits and vegetables are clearly an important part of a healthy diet. Their ability to render cancerous tumors harmless makes them invaluable tools in the fight against cancer. While regular consumption is important, so is the variety of fruits and vegetables that you eat.