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Look around. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that every single person we know would have a loved one fighting cancer. Every year more than 1 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in India . The scale is frightening. And reasons surprising.
Whilst we must adapt to the changing times and the lifestyle adjustments that come along, we cannot let the repercussions go unacknowledged. New study shows that, nine in ten cancers are caused by environmental and external factors such as smoking, exposure to radio frequency under which come radio and television signals, mobile phones, wi-fi and bluetooth, medical procedures that involve heating of body tissues, full body scanners etc., direct exposure to sun and pollution and of course wrong, or should we say our ignorant food habits . Which brings us to agree that cancer is no more limited to being a result of inherited genetic mutations beyond our control.
So, cancer can be prevented. How? Of course, if we can deal with all of the above mentioned factors. But can we? The fact is that we may not be in complete control of everything but, better diet and lifestyle may be our most promising ammunition to fight, or preferably avert the frightful battle against the disease.
So here we are with these all-rounder superfoods that not only guard you from cancer, but come loaded with tons of other health benefits too, which we will talk about in our upcoming posts. We may have heard of these, more now than before, and might also be consuming some of them but it’s important to know ‘why’ behind each ‘what’ and then ‘where’ to go looking for them.
Dating back 8000 years, this ancient gluten free, high on protein and calcium grain contains an amino acid called lysine which none of the other grains have. It is very high in fibre, which has been shown to reduce the likelihood of bowel cancer and is a great source of iron, which enables our body to manufacture red blood cells and keep our oxygen levels high. Amaranth also contains the cancer fighting phytochemical squalene, along with calcium, magnesium and folic acid. Add them to your soups, salads and other cooked food for a healthy crunchy topping.
Sunflower seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They slow down the growth of mutated cancer cells; stalling the early phases of cancer development. Consuming sunflower seeds is not only an excellent way to prevent cancer, but it also decreases the chances of recurrence. Sunflower seeds also contain selenium, an antioxidant that is important for preventing breast cancer.
Tiny and mighty! Sesamin, the major component of these seeds is proven to stop the development of cancer cells . Apart from being an excellent source of calcium, anti-oxidants, and Vitamin E; this tiny seed contains an anti-cancer compound called phytate. The magnesium in these seeds has also shown anti-cancer properties.
Black sesame has a higher nutritional profile than its white ‘hulled’ variant and hence should be preferred.
The medicinal value of flaxseeds has been proven for centuries. containing high contents of protein, fiber, vitamin, mineral and omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is the richest source of lignan on earth, shown to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. Other than treating cancer (very early stages), flaxseed also helps prevent it .
Almonds top the charts when it comes to health benefits. But you need to be careful in picking the right ones, unless you just want to add those extra kilos to yourself without deriving the real benefit of the nut. Avoid the Californian almonds that flood the Indian market as they are highly processed and have been robbed of their essential oils. Two extremely healthy but rarer varieties Gurbandi and Mamra are the ones recommended. Mamra is only slightly lower in protein content as compared to the Californian almonds. Also, they have high sugar content so should be consumed only in moderate quantities.
A word of caution! Both apricot and apple seeds must only be consumed with expert recommendation and in well calculated quantities.
Rich in fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants; walnuts stand tall amidst other nuts. Having the highest antioxidant activity amongst all nuts, walnuts are perfect to keep cancer at bay. They contain several rare and potent phytonutrients which fight cancer cells and are found in very few other foods .
With our world and environment rapidly changing without our control, what’s still in our hands and absolutely essential is for us to adopt healthy eating habits and delay the repercussions as much as we can. It is also important for us to stay informed and source our super foods from the right places for them to truly benefit us. You can start now by subscribing to The Wellness Box from Boxes of Joy here.
A special thanks to our dietician on board, Dr. Himanshu Kapoor, who has enriched this post with her experience and insights. She is a health food and diet consultant with a vision to make the eating of traditional whole grains/seeds a part of mainstream healthy eating. Dr. Kapoor is the power behind C-green, a startup that offers healthy products, diet counselling, and cooking classes. Those who have tried our Wellness Boxes have already tasted the joy that her products bring!
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