Onions and Garlic
Both of these can be added to virtually any savoury dish to make it taste better and prevent cancer. Allicin and allyl sulphides are the active compounds in garlic and onion which take credit for its superstar status. These compounds bind with toxic chemicals so they can be excreted from the body, rather than taking a hold on your organs and causing havoc. The sulphur compounds act as bodyguards against oxidation and free radicals which can cause cancer.
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene which has been shown to help prevent prostate cancer, specifically by preventing the development of free radicals and DNA damage. Populations that eat lots of tomato dishes have a much lower risk of prostate cancer in men. Cooking tomatoes, particularly in olive oil, increases the lycopene content and allows higher absorption into our cells. This explains why the Mediterranean diet is so effective on the cancer prevention front.
All berries are packed with anti-cancer molecules such as ellagic acid (raspberries and strawberries are loaded with this) and anthocyanidins (blueberries). Both compounds block the activity of two proteins which are essential to cancer spreading and forming new blood vessels. Similarly, proanthocyanidins (cranberries) have high antioxidant activity which can halt tumour development. Snack on seasonal berries or throw into your morning porridge.
Several epidemiological studies have found that regular mushroom consumption reduces the rate of mortality from cancer. Japanese mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and enokitake are packed with lentinan which stimulates immune system activity, slowing tumour growth and the progress of cancer. They also help stimulate white blood cell count and activity. Saute mushrooms with garlic, onion and basil and serve on sourdough or wholegrain toast for a real anti-cancer boost.
This ubiquitous herb is high in apigenin, a polyphenol that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by blocking angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) and by decreasing inflammatory processes. Parsley can be added raw or cooked to a range of cuisines including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Chop up and add to eggs, hummous, or use as a garnish on any dish.