Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Once it takes hold, it can be expensive, painful and difficult to treat. Many people don’t realize that their garden could stop it before it starts.
New cases of cancer top 1.5 million people each year with more than 500,000 losing their lives to this insidious disease. The most prevalent types are breast, lung, and prostate cancer. Several studies point to the possibility that 30-40 percent of cancers could be headed off with a healthy diet and leafy greens are at the center of that research. Many leafy greens and key vegetables are rich in antioxidants that are important frontline defenses to combating the formation and spread of malignant cancers.
Best Leafy Greens to Fight Cancer
While fresh leafy greens are a plus to any healthy diet, some are better than others in terms of disease prevention. The dark greens tend to be flush with folate, carotenoids, vitamins A, C, K, minerals are numerous antioxidants that directly challenge and eliminate the free radicals that damage cells and put us in harm’s way.
Spinach: The food source that gave Popeye his muscles and super-human strength is also good for preserving eyesight and battling various diseases.. Spinach is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that help strengthen vision and destroy free radicals. Studies indicate that these may have a distinct connection to protection of the mouth, stomach and esophagus.
Kale: This garden green has been trending as the new super-food. Kale is tremendously rich in the vitamins and nutrients that help prevent cancer and other health problems, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Collard Greens: Although not as appealing, Collard Greens are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. They help protect the body by boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and detoxification.
Dandelion Greens: It’s hard to make sense of the fact that we focus on getting dandelions out of our lawns. Instead, we should be promoting them in our gardens and using the leaves for sandwiches and salads. Dandelions deliver 112 percent of the recommended minimum daily allowance of Vitamin A and 535 percent of Vitamin K.
Along with combating cancer at a cellular level, these leafy greens also support better digestion, lower cholesterol, and help improve bone density.
Other Cancer-Fighting Foods You Can Grow
Diversifying your garden, and diet, will only enhance your body’s ability to prevent cancer growths. Many locally-grown vegetables are wealthy in glutathione, which some call the “master antioxidant” because it seeks out and destroys free radicals. These include common garden plants include:
- Brussel sprouts
A third source of garden-grown options is berries. A lot of family gardeners tend to be hesitant about planting berry bushes. The lingering idea that they attract pests may win the risk-reward decision. But if you are willing to tent or utilize natural bug repellants, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are some of the highest sources of antioxidants. They supply excellent amounts of vitamin A and C. They also provide gallic acid, which is a potent immune system booster. And, frankly, it’s a lot easier to get young children to eat blueberries and strawberries than kale.
It’s important to remember that cancer has an agenda all its own. It strikes young and old indiscriminately. In the war against such illnesses, our little patch of earth can be the frontline defense. Nature provides again!