Traditional Philippine Food Offers Cancer Prevention via 'Super Pilipino Food'

Traditional Philippine food has proven effective in preventing cancer

A simple change in diet can save you from acquiring one of the number one causes of death - cancer. Eating the wrong kind of food can make you prone to such a disease.

As the country celebrates the global observance of World Cancer Day, a health expert shares some good Pinoy food tips that have been proven effective in preventing you from being afflicted with the dreaded “Big C.”

Dr. Christine Gonzales, advocate of integral health and well-being through preventive wellness and consultant of the Healing Station located in Tagaytay City, Philippines, gives us a list of the “super foods” that can help prevent cancer.

Vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, contain anti-cancer chemicals called isothiocyanates and detoxifying substances called indole 3 carbinol and sulforafane that provide protection against breast, colon and bladder cancer.

Examples of these kinds of vegetables are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard green, turnips, watercress, beet greens, Brussels sprout, which when all consumed, will help in impeding cancer.

The deeper the color of the vegetables, the more phytochemicals they have and the more protected you are from cancer. Beets, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, squash, - traditional Philippine food such as ampalaya (bitter gourd), arugula (resembles a radish leaf) and “talbos” or leaves of camote (sweet potato) and charantia have bioflavonoids and carotenoids which provide immune stimulation to destroy cancer cells.

High intake of onion and garlic also cuts the risk of stomach cancer by half. The protective chemicals, such as allicin, in onion and garlic block carcinogens from going to their target, destroy cancer cells and suppress tumor growth. If eaten regularly, whether raw or cooked, onion and garlic decrease the risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.

Legumes such as garbanzos, kidney beans, pinto beans, mungo beans and other veggies in this food group are rich in protease inhibitors for fighting cancer, isoflavones and phytoestrogens that have potent anti-cancer properties. A diet of beans reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer.

Srawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries, blueberries and cherries contain a powerful anti-cancer agent called ellagic acid which causes cancer cells to self-destruct.

Anti-oxidant substances such as beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E and A contained in fruits like grapes, apples, plums, including traditional Philippine food such as mangoes, guava, mangosteen, pomelo, dragon fruit, passion fruit, duhat (java plum), pineapple, and all citrus fruits like oranges, ponkan and lemon, protect body cells from being damaged, securing one from cancer.

Herbs and spices such as oregano, contains quercetin, protective against breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Ginger, on the other hand, has gingerol which is proven effective in slowing the growth of colorectal cancer and suppresses tumor blood supply.

Cumin seeds, meanwhile, enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes, whereas, turmeric has curcumin which prevents tumor growth, kills cancer cells and disrupt tumor blood supply.

Basil is also a good source of beta carotene, which protects the epithelial cells from free radical damage.

Traditional Philippine Food
Traditional Philippine Food - Malunggay
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, cod and bass are loaded with anti-cancer fats which slow down the spread of cancer, stimulate immune functions and provide trace minerals from the sea. Two servings of fish per week promote general health.

Oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice, barely, wheat, rye, amaranth, millet, corn, rootcrops such as gabi (taro), camote (sweet potato), and squash, which are all complex carbohydrates, contain compounds which when broken down becomes butyric acid, a powerful anti-cancer agent.

Nuts, seeds, olives and avocadoes are good sources essential fatty acids that are necessary for cell and organ respiration and lubrication to the tissues.

Moringa or malunggay, which is a traditional Philippine food, contains substances such as rutin and quercetin that are antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.

Yogurt maintains optimum levels of friendly bacteria that promotes health, rebuilds immunity and control cancer.

All these “super foods”” supply energy, rebuild the living tissues and serve as a medium where biochemical processes of the body takes place. That is why it is very important for everyone to eat healthy foods and live a healthy lifestyle. It is only then we can be worry-free of the dreaded “Big C.” (WLB/Rebecca Grace S. David- PIA 3)

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