The Role of Antioxidants in Cancer Prevention

Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals to prevent cellular damage in the body. These antioxidants which neutralize free radicals are called endogenous antioxidants, and the body relies on external (exogenous) sources, primarily the diet, to obtain the sufficient amount of antioxidants it needs. These exogenous antioxidants are commonly called dietary antioxidants.

Vitamins A, C, and E (alpha-tocopherol), beta-carotene, and lycopene are examples of dietary antioxidants. The mineral element selenium is often thought to be a dietary antioxidant, but the antioxidative effects of selenium are most often because of the antioxidant activity of proteins that have this element as a quintessential component (i.e., selenium-containing proteins), and not as selenium itself.

Free Radicals and Cancer Development

Free radicals are reactive chemicals that possess the potential to harm bodily cells. They are created when a molecule (a compound that has two or more atoms) either gains or loses an electron (a tiny negatively charged particle located in atoms). Free radicals are produced naturally in the body and play an essential role in many standard cellular processes. At high concentrations, however, free radicals can be precarious to the body and damage all significant components of cells, including proteins, cell membranes, and the DNA. The free radicals causing damage to the cells, mainly damage to DNA, may lead to the development of cancers and other health conditions.

Exposure to ionizing radiation and other environmental toxins can cause an abnormally high concentration of free radicals in the body. When ionizing radiation hits a molecule in a cell, an electron may be lost, leading to the generation of a free radical. The abnormally high production of free radicals is the mechanism by which ionizing radiation destroys cells. Further, some environmental toxins, such as tobacco smoke, certain metals, and high-oxygen atmospheres, may comprise significant amounts of free radicals or spur the body’s cells to produce added free radicals.

Free radicals that include the element oxygen are among the most prevalent type of free radicals generated in living tissue. Another term for them is “reactive oxygen species” or “ROS.”

Top Seven High Antioxidant Foods

Eat these superfoods every day to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients that benefit the human body and the immune system:

  1. Purple, Red, and Blue Grapes

Dark-colored grapes are bursting with phytochemicals or antioxidants that may assist in protecting against cancer and heart disease. Anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin (phytochemicals), may be exceptionally useful for your immune system. Grapes are also rich in vitamin C and selenium.

  1. Blueberries

Recent animal studies suggest that eating blueberries may lower inflammation and help protect cells from harm. Blueberries possess many vitamins and minerals that strengthen the immune system, along with important phytochemicals that may aid in protecting against cancer and heart disease.

  1. Red Berries

Berries, especially the wonderfully tart and sweet raspberries and strawberries, contain another phytochemical called ellagic acid. This phytochemical may help protect the cells from cancer-causing agents in various diets and the environments.

  1. Nuts mixed nuts

Nuts are not only an essential brain food, but they are also one of the most balanced foods on the planet. They offer an excellent dose of “healthy” fats along with smaller amounts of protein and carbohydrate. Different types of nuts provide a unique profile of minerals, phytochemicals, and fat. Walnuts, in particular, are the highest in plant omega-3s, while Brazil nuts are excellent for selenium.

Most nuts are also loaded with phytochemicals such as resveratrol and plant sterols, which help lower high cholesterol levels.

  1. Dark Green Veggies

Popeye loves spinach for great reasons. Green superfoods like spinach, broccoli, kale, and collard greens are founding members of the esteemed dark-green vegetable group. These vegetables are profoundly high in nutrients like vitamins C, E, and A, and calcium, which help fight several diseases. They are also rich in magnesium (for excellent bone health) and potassium (essential for maintaining consistent blood pressure).

If you need more reasons to go green, these delicious and healthy veggies are full of antioxidant phytochemicals, including kaempferol, which helps enlarge blood vessels and may have cancer-fighting properties. Greens like leeks, lettuce, and kale also contain lutein and quercetin, both potent antioxidants.

  1. Sweet Potatoes and Orange Vegetables

All across the United States of America, sweet potatoes are becoming a staple ingredient in many restaurants. Sweet potato fries, in particular, are pushing aside traditional fries as a much healthier alternative.

Though both white and sweet potatoes provide vital nutrients such as vitamins C and B6, potassium, and fiber, sweet potatoes contain much more of these nutrients. They also provide essential nutrients such as calcium and large quantities of vitamin A.

Other vegetables with vibrant hues or orange are nutrient-rich and loaded with phytochemicals as well. Carrots are known to be high in vitamin A, while butternut and acorn squash contain high concentrations of vitamins A and C.

  1. Whole Grains

Switching to whole grains is one dietary change that may change your health for the better. Eating whole grain bread instead of white bread, choosing wild or brown rice instead of white rice, and munching on corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas will lower your risk of diseases and health conditions.

Research shows that people who eat at least one serving of whole grains every day have lower risks of heart disease and stroke. Zinc and selenium are abundant in whole grains, in addition to phytochemicals thought to protect against cancer and heart disease.

Antioxidant Supplements and Cancer

In laboratory and animal studies, increased levels of exogenous antioxidants have been shown to prevent the types of free radical damage associated with cancer development. Therefore, researchers have investigated whether taking dietary antioxidant supplements can help lower the risk of developing or dying from cancer in humans.

Many observational studies, including case-control studies and cohort studies, have been conducted to investigate whether the use of dietary antioxidant supplements heavily associates with reduced risks of cancer in humans. Overall, these studies have yielded mixed results. Because observational studies cannot adequately control for biases that might influence study outcomes, the results of any individual observational study require cautious viewing.

Detoxify Your Body to Eliminate Cancer

At New Hope Medical Center, our protocols are designed to aggressively kill cancer cells while simultaneously detoxifying the body, resulting in less negative side effects than singularly traditional treatment options. Are you ready to defeat your disease? Call 480-757-6573 today!

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