Protect Yourself Against Cancer

Fight Cancer With Trace Minerals

Fight Cancer With selenium  and Zinc-Rich Foods
Credit: Ann Sturillo

Prevent Cancer Nutritionally

Fight Cancer With Antioxidant-Rich Foods


Some nutrients in our foods are cancer fighters. The anti-cancer effects of these foods and nutrients are attributed largely to their antioxidant properties.  Antioxidants protect DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and other cellular structures in your body from the damaging effects of free radicals.

  Free radicals are charged molecules that are released in your body by biochemical reactions that occur during metabolism.  Antioxidants are important because in their absence it is unlikely that we can survive. The  nutrients and substances with antioxidant properties range from vitamins to  carotenoids,  and from  polyphenols to trace minerals. The important trace minerals with antioxidant properties are profiled here, and they include      selenium, manganese and zinc.

 Anti-Cancer Effects of Selenium

 Selenium is an important trace mineral  that prevents cancer or slows down its progression.  It is  particularly effective for fighting breast, esophageal, stomach, liver, bladder and prostate cancers. Often, the selenium level in our foods is low and this  makes it difficult for you to have adequate levels of this trace mineral in your body.

  The amount of selenium in most diets is low because the level of this mineral is low in some soils where food crops are grown.  In contrast, foods produced in plant nutrient-rich soils usually have adequate levels of this important trace mineral.  Organic fertilizers typically contain adequate amounts of plant micro-nutrients and are less likely to be deficient in this mineral. Therefore organically produced fruits and vegetables may be included in you diet to support adequate amounts of this trace mineral in your body. You may also consume foods that are naturally rich in this cancer-fighting mineral.  Shown below are some foods that are naturally rich in selenium:

 l  Brazil nuts (have the highest level )

l  walnut

l  mushrooms

l  sun flower seeds

l  tuna

l  cod

l  shrimp

l  turkey

l  oats

Antioxidant Effects of Manganese

 Manganese (not magnesium) has significant anti-cancer effects, but its primary effect is in the mitochondria where it protects the mitochondria from damage by free radicals (oxidative damage).  Mitochondria are structures in  the cells where energy is produced and large quantities of free radicals are released.  As a cancer fighter, manganese is known for preventing colon cancer. This effect is mediated through super oxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that attacks free radicals.  Some important nutritional sources of this mineral are shown below:

l mustard green

l kale

l spinach

l garlic

l quinoa – the super grain

l brown rice

l soy beans

l pineapple

l oats

 Fight Prostate Cancer With Zinc

 Zinc is another mineral that helps to control cancer.  It is particularly helpful for preventing prostate cancer. This trace mineral is also involved in may processes in the body, including. supports for the immune system  and wound healing.

 Zinc participates (as a cofactor) in over 100 biochemical reactions in your body.   A cofactor is a mineral or a non-protein compound that supports the activity of an enzyme so that biochemical reactions can proceed properly.   Some nutritional sources of zinc are shown below: 

l guava – the super fruit

l mushrooms (shitake mushrooms)

l scallops

l sesame seeds

l pumpkin seeds

l oats

l shrimps

l turkey

l liver (calf liver)

   High Levels of Trace Minerals

 Your body needs trace minerals to function properly. Life itself would cease in their absence. On the other hand, toxicity and impairment of biological functions can occur when their blood levels (plasma levels) are high.  Additionally, most trace minerals are poorly regulated by the body. Therefore, excess amounts of trace mineral can not be readily controlled or eliminated from the body to minimize toxicity. Consequently, it is better to obtain these  minerals from normal foods  (natural foods that are free of additives), because toxicity does not usually occur when these minerals are obtained from consuming normal foods.