Cancer Preventative Properties of Having a Simple Salad

Another great guest post by Sam Paparo. Check out her blog and meal prep services at DHF With Sam!


I eat a salad every single night for dinner and I recently did some research on the ingredients in my salad and found some amazing health benefits.

Lets first start with the base of the salad: Romaine Lettuce

I like to mix both baby romaine and regular romaine lettuce together.  I pile it up real high in a large bowl. It contains high amounts of folate, which is responsible for the production of DNA in a replicating cell.  People with low amounts of folate in their system leads to an increased rate of mutations.  When the cells mutate, the risk for developing cancer increases greatly.  Making sure you have enough folate in your body can decrease your risk of developing cancer by 62%. I recommend to 3-4 cups of romaine lettuce once a day.

Cucumber

They contain anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties. The lignans pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol have all been identified within cucumber. The role of these plant lignans in cancer protection involves the role of bacteria in our digestive tract. When we consume plant lignans like those found in cucumber, bacteria in our digestive tract take hold of these lignans and convert them into enterolignans like enterodiol and enterolactone. Enterolignans have the ability to bind onto estrogen receptors and can have both pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects. Reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers, including cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate has been associated with intake of dietary lignans from plant foods like cucumber.

Tomatoes

I add about 7-8 grape tomatoes to my salad each night.  Tomatoes contain a large amount of key nutrients that are essential to our health.  It contains Vitamin C, which helps to support or immune system as well as decrease the incidence of colon tumors.  Having enough vitamin C in your system can decrease the risk of developing cancer by 40%.  Tomatoes also contain Beta-carotene, and when consumed can decrease the risk of developing rectal cancer and colon cancer.  They protect cells against carcinogens and any harmful chemicals that could cause damage to DNA. That’s not all for tomatoes, they also contain lycopene. “A study published in the November 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that in patients with colorectal adenomas, a type of polyp that is the precursor for most colorectal cancers, blood levels of lycopene were 35% lower compared to study subjects with no polyps. Blood levels of beta-carotene also tended to be 25.5% lower, although according to researchers, this difference was not significant. In their final (multiple logistic regression) analysis, only low levels of plasma lycopene (less than 70 microgram per liter) and smoking increased the likelihood of colorectal adenomas, but the increase in risk was quite substantial: low levels of lycopene increased risk by 230% and smoking by 302%.”  So eat your tomatoes!

Red Cabbage

I like to chop this up and add 1/2 cup completely raw to my salad. Cabbage has isothiocyanates and indoles, which have been shown in research studies to be especially good for protecting cells against the effects of carcinogens and also for decreasing tumor development in the colon. Some studies show that eating just two or more servings of these vegetables a week can decrease colon cancer risk by 20-40%.  A little goes a long way.  I also like to enjoy steamed Napa Cabbage or Savoy Cabbage with my meals throughout the day.

Radish

Radishes are great for your liver and stomach.  It helps to purify the blood and eliminate toxins and wastes.  Since radishes are detoxifiers and are rich in vitamin-C, folic and anthocyanins, they have been connected to treating many different types of cancers.  The isthiocyanates found in them can alter the pathways so much, in fact, that they can cause apoptosis, cell death, thereby eliminating cancerous cells from reproducing.

Turmeric

I probably blog about this every few posts.  It’s such a staple ingredient in my diet and it does wonders for the body.  A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.  There was an American study done in 2007 and they were able to discover that curcumin, found in turmeric helped to stop the spread of breast cancer cells in the body!  Load this up on your salad!

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