Jul 11, 2005 - 1:48 pm
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Monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil, also play a role in cancer prevention. Populations with an olive oil -rich diet, such as Mediterranean cuisine, have a lower incidence of cancer. Greek women, who tend to have an olive-oil rich diet, have a much lower risk of breast cancer. One study found that the incidence of breast cancer correlated with the amount of hydrogenated oils in the womens' diets. As much as possible, avoid saturated and hydrogenated oils. (For more information, see All About Oils.
* They protect the membrane of intestinal cells.
Beta carotene. Beta carotene fights against cancer by both boosting the immune system and releasing a specific chemical called tumor necrosis factor. Beta carotene can block the growth of potentially cancerous cells. The recommended cancer prevention dose of beta carotene is 15 to 25 mg. per day (around 30,000 IU). This is about ten times the amount in the average American diet, but it's actually easy to get enough beta carotene in your diet without taking supplements. Best sources of beta carotene are sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, butternut and other types of winter squash, spinach, broccoli, mango, and papaya. Eating pink grapefruit (which contains beta carotene) instead of white grapefruit gives you a beta carotene boost. You could get enough protective beta carotene each day by eating: half a sweet potato, half a cup of pumpkin, two medium-size carrots, 1.5 cups of cooked spinach, or two medium-size mangos. Best sources of beta carotene are these:
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which enhances the absorption and utilization of beta carotene, so eating tomatoes with beta carotene-rich foods provides an added boost. Carrots and tomatoes are a good combination.
Vitamin C. A big dose of vitamin C fights the big "C." Studies have shown that persons with the highest intake of vitamin C have the lowest incidence of intestinal cancers. Vitamin C blocks the formation of nitrosamines in the gut. These are potent carcinogens made from nitrates and nitrites found in food, especially processed meats. Vitamin C also boosts the immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes. Best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables. Taking 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily may have anticancer benefits.
Vitamin E. The anti-cancer properties in vitamin E are similar to vitamin C. In a ten-year study that followed 21,000 men, those with high levels of vitamin E in their diet showed a 30 percent lower risk of all types of cancer. Women with low blood levels of vitamin E and selenium had ten times the risk of breast cancer in one study. In another study at the University of Toronto, researchers gave colon cancer patients vitamin C and E supplements after surgery and found two years later that the supplements reduced the recurrence of precancerous colon polyps by 20 percent. Studies suggest a dose of 200 to 400 IU a day, which is nearly impossible to get from foods. You may get less than ten percent of this amount from even the best diet.
Whether or not natural vitamin E from foods or the factory-made vitamin is biologically better is still a subject of debate, yet the natural vitamin E may be more biologically active. Natural vitamin E is recognized on the package label by the "d" prefix or "d-alpha tocophenol;" the synthetic compound will have a "dl" prefix.