Keeping your immune system healthy is vital to overall wellbeing. Your food choices significantly influence your health.
However, for cancer patients, a strong immune system is even more crucial as it helps fight cancer. When an individual has cancer, it is not only the disease itself that weakens the immune system, but its treatment as well. The right food choices and a balanced diet can help a long way for the immune system to fight cancer. Not only does it give strength, but it can also reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.
Aside from an abundance of fruits and vegetables plus healthy proteins and fatty acids as effective cancer-fighting foods, there are specific superfoods that contain immunity boosters and anti-inflammatory properties that can strengthen the immune system to fight cancer.
Note: One has to be especially cautious which foods are really the true immunity boosters as compared to those that are just hypes.
Here’s the list of the best superfood immune system boosters:
Pomegranate has had a long medical significance in history. Research has shown that intake of pomegranate impedes the increase of cancer cells and reduces the spread of carcinogenic cells. This is because pomegranate contains an abundance of ellagic acid that inhibits aromatase, which is a key factor in the carcinogenesis of cells.
Aside from ellagic acid, pomegranate contains more antioxidants than red wine and has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight with certain kinds of cancers. Pomegranate as a superfood in general contains nutrients like citric acid, malic acid, flavonoid, potassium, and tannins.
When in season, you can find a lot of pomegranate fruits, but the easiest way to consume this superfood is by buying pomegranate juice. As with any fruit juice, look for the purest kind without any additive sweeteners.
A growing number of researches by the Mayo clinic and other studies conducted on the efficacy of curcumin to aid in the prevention and healing of different kinds of cancers have gained attention. Curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, has shown to inhibit cancer cells from growing further. This is because it contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
In a 2011 study conducted by University of Texas, curcumin extract is able to discern between healthy and cancer cells, initiating apoptosis in the latter.
Wheatgrass contains a host of nutrients that strengthen the immune system. It contains chlorophyll, selenium, laetrile, antioxidants, and amino acids. Aside from this, wheatgrass is a very alkaline food, which controls the proliferation of cancer and strengthens the immune system.
The abundant chlorophyll increases the production of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the cancer cells. Numerous studies have shown that cellular oxygenation kills cancer cells. Selenium and laetrile, on the other hand both build up the immune system.
Wheatgrass also flushes out toxins in the liver and kidney and it removes cancer-causing agents and deposits of drugs left in your body.
According to the National Cancer Institute, high garlic consumption is beneficial to cancer patients. This statement is backed by a number of international studies revealing that the antibacterial properties of garlic blocks substances that cause cancer and promotes DNA repair.
Garlic contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that trigger the body’s natural defenses against free radicals. Not only does garlic strengthen your immune system, but it is also an effective detoxifier.
There are specific mushroom species that help fight cancer, and these are called medicinal mushrooms. Examples of these types include turkey tail mushrooms, maitake, and reishi. Primarily, these medicinal mushrooms boost the immune system.
Medicinal mushrooms are also seen to have antiviral properties and tumor-reducing properties. For example, reishi mushrooms have natural killer cells that can inhibit the spread of cancer cells. Further studies have shown that turkey tail mushroom’s anti-viral property targets oncoviruses that are the primary culprit of cervical cancer.
Cancer patients often exhibit bone-weary fatigue as the body struggles to fight against the cancer. Studies have shown that certain types of ginseng significantly improve cancer-induced fatigue. It is thought that the anti-inflammatory properties of ginseng is responsible for an improved immune system.
A further look into the benefits of ginseng shows that it also reduces cortisol production, which is another factor of cancer fatigue.
There are certain species of edible seaweed shown to contain an abundance of anti-carcinogenic property called fucoidan. In a study conducted by a group of Japanese researchers, fucoidan was shown to stimulate an anti-tumor process that started natural cell death in cancerous cells.
In another study in Hamshemite University, fucoidan extract was shown to aid in apoptosis, shrinking cancer cells or totally killing it off. Fucoidan was also seen to strengthen the immune system.
You should take note that superfoods may help fight cancer, but it is not the cure to cancer. In addition, diet is not the only determining factor in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Nevertheless, a well-balanced diet which includes these superfoods can boost your overall health. More importantly, if you are being treated for cancer, these superfoods can build up your immune system so you’ll have more energy!