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Last Updated Monday December 05 2016 10:00 AM IST

Foods that fight Cancer

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Cancer happens when a cell or a group of cells in our body forget their duties and multiply beyond control. The diets, stress, carcinogens, effects of harmful radiations, viruses, or hormones also contribute in some way or the other in causing cancer. Researches show that most of the time the reasons are dependent on the external environment. The food we consume forms a major part of such external factors.

The best cancer-fighting foods are those that contain Beta Carotene. Beta Carotene cleans up the system and gets rid of the free-radicals – the bad chemical components that remain in the cells after the various chemical processes. Bright yellow pumpkins, carrots, ripe papaya, green leafy vegetables and red fruits are a store house of Beta Carotene.

Foods that improve immunity should be given to cancer patients. There are never any shortcuts to healthy eating. For breakfast it could be green tea, raw or steamed fruits depending on the health conditions of the patient, unsweetened pomegranate or mango juice, cereals like rava or broken red rice cooked with fat-free milk. Midday snacks can be porridge made with low fat cereals. The lunch menu can include bread sandwich (do away with the sides of the bread), well cooked rice gruel, mashed and boiled leafy vegetables and other veggies, mashed fish cooked with very little spices or soups. Evening snacks could be lassi or fruit juices. Dinner must be light with just well cooked red rice, steamed vegetables or fish with fruit juice. Never give the patient any food that cause them discomfort.

The ideal diet of a cancer patient must include all foods that help improve immunity, are nutritious and those that help regain their strength. Food in small portions, 6 or 8 times is the smart way to better health. Foods made of Maida, fried foods, cakes, cookies, noodles and so on should be avoided. Sprouted beans, grams cooked into soups, soya products and soya milk have also been found to be beneficial.

Except for peanuts, all other nuts like cashew, walnut, and almonds are good immune boosters. Almost 4 cups of vegetables and 8 cups of liquids must be consumed by the patient. Apples, pineapples, berries, grapes, pomegranate juice are excellent for them. It is always wise to give them only low fat skimmed milk. Avoid sweets, cream or ice cream. As for the non vegetarian options; skinless chicken or fish cooked in very little spices can be given and nothing else.

Use olive oil for cooking and not vegetable oils, especially Vanaspati, which is very harmful. Herbal teas, green tea, ginger tea are good drinks to try out. Fruit and vegetable juices play an important role in cell regeneration. Avoid coffee or milk based drinks or foods.

Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are unique as they are rich sources of sulphur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds help to flush out the carcinogens in the body. Ginger, garlic and onions should be included in your daily diet as these have cancer fighting properties.

Foods containing Beta Carotene, Vitamin C and E, Selenium, Calcium, Potassium, and Chromium should be taken in generous quantities. Foods like fish, meat, eggs, milk, crab, prawns have Selenium. Whole cereals, mushrooms and cashew nuts have Chromium. Dried figs protect the bones. This especially stops cancer of the colon, breast or prostrate.

Kiwis are super foods that have cancer fighting and free-radical eliminating anti oxidants like Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin C and E.

Here are a few recipes for Cancer patients—

Pomegranate-Juice-article

Ingredients

1 pomegranate

½ cup water

Preparation

De-seed the pomegranates and blend them.

Starin the juice from the fruits using a juicer

Add water before serving

orange-juice-article

Ingredients

1 ripe mango or 2 oranges

½ cup water

Preparation

Remove the seeds of the orange and mango and prepare the juice using a juicer. Add water before serving.

carrot-juice-article

Ingredients

4 carrots

½ an apple

A small piece of ginger

1 cup water

Preparation

Cut up the apple and the carrots into small pieces before juicing them

Grind the ginger separately to get some juice

Add this to the water before serving

Vitamin C helps in relieving pain and also in preventing the disease to some extent Carrot Juice is a rich source of Vitamin C

Beef Cutlet

Ingredients

½ cup de-boned mackerel

¼ cup cooked and mashed potato

1 inch piece pinger

3 cloves garlic

1 small onion

½ tbsp chopped tomato

1 tbsp cashew nuts, roasted and ground

1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Salt, as required

½ tsp oil

2 tbsp rava

Preparation

Finely chop the garlic, ginger and onions and sauté these in a little oil.

To this add the potatoes, tomatoes, coriander, cashew and the fish

Sauté in a low fire till the fish is cooked. Add salt

Once the mixture has cooled down, make into small balls and shape into cutlets

Roll this in the Rava and fry on a hot Tawa with a little oil, till both sides are golden

Serve it with freshly made tomato chutney / sauce

The vegetables and the cashew pack a nutritious punch and Mackerel is rich in Omega-3

Ingredients

½ cup de-seeded dates chopped

3 gooseberries

2 tbsp jaggery

Preparation

Grind together the chopped gooseberry and dates and make into a paste

Boil the Jaggery with water and into this syrup add the Gooseberry and dates

This syrup is rich in Vitamin C, Iron, Glucose and the mixture when consumed for just 10 days have shown remarkable results in cancer patients like removing the paleness and improving blood cell count

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