Antioxidants: A Cancer Patient’s Protector and Fighter

Antioxidants: A Cancer Patient’s Protector and Fighter

Free radicals are directly implicated in aging, many chronic conditions and cancer. Antioxidants contained in whole, plant-based foods can protect all of us against this damage and can be a game changer while undergoing cancer treatments.

Much of the peripheral damage of cancer treatment is caused largely by oxidative stress and inflammation; increasing the body’s antioxidant defense systems can drastically reduce side effects and limit suffering by patients.

In a 2007 study, researchers concluded that not only do dietary antioxidants not interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but they actually make those therapies more effective and less harmful to healthy tissues.

“Since the 1970s, 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies, including 50 human studies involving 8,521 patients, 5,081 of whom were given nutrients, have consistently shown that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities for cancer. Furthermore, they enhance the killing of therapeutic modalities for cancer, decrease their side effects, and protect normal tissue. In 15 human studies, 3,738 patients who took non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival.”

The addition of antioxidant rich foods can be an excellent nutritional strategy in protecting the body from side effects of traditional therapies while also providing unique cancer-fighting benefits of their own.

Below is a list of the top 20 fruit and vegetables with antioxidant activity. The higher the value, the greater the ability of the foods to act as an antioxidant.

Eating a diet rich in antioxidant whole foods can help improve your health. So yet again, mom and grandma were right – eat your fruits and veggies every day, and lots of them, for better health.

Antioxidant Activity of Top 20 Fruits

FruitAntioxidant Activity Per Serving
Wild Blueberry13,427
Cranberry8,983
Blackberry7,701
Raspberry6,058
Strawberry5,938
Apple (red)5,900
Cherry4,873
Plum4,118
Avocado3,344
Pear3,172
Orange2,540
Grapes (red)2,016
Grapefruit1,904
Peach1,826
Mango1,653
Apricot1,408
Tangerine1,361
Pineapple1,229
Banana1,037
Nectarine1,019
Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2004)

Antioxidant Activity of Top 20 Vegetables

VegetablesAntioxidant Activity Per Serving
Bean (red)13,727
Artichoke heart7,904
Potato (russet)4,649
Cabbage (red)2,359
Asparagus1,480
Onion1,281
Sweet potato1,195
Radish1,107
Spinach1,056
Eggplant1,039
Broccoli982
Lettuce (Boston)620
Pepper (red)576
Peas (frozen)480
Corn (canned)434
Pepper (green)418
Tomato415
Celery344
Cauliflower324
Carrot171
Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2004)

Source:
Ii, C. B. S., Simone, N. L., Simone, V., & Simone, C. B. (2007). Antioxidants and Other Nutrients I. Alternative Therapies13(1), 22–28. PMID: 17283738
Ii, C. B. S., Simone, N. L., Simone, V., & Simone, C. B. (2007). Antioxidants and Other Nutrients II. Alternative Therapies13(1), 22–28. PMID: 174056

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Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.