The average American eats about 1,100 meals every year. Unfortunately, much of what they eat is drawn from the Standard American Diet (SAD): foods that are high in animal products, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates. This kind of diet is destructive and dangerous, increasing your risk of cancer, leading to weight gain, and contributing to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In short, this nutritionally deficient diet is — pardon the pun — a recipe for disaster.
But people don’t need to die from diseases brought on by poor eating habits. For this reason, I developed the nutrient-dense, plant-rich Nutritarian eating style, which harnesses the power of superior nutrition to prevent diseases such as cancer, and prevent and even reverse diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One of the key components of the Nutritarian diet is what I call the immune system’s “Anti-Cancer Special Forces” division: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds, which you can remember using the acronym “G-BOMBS.”
The G-BOMBS are foods that have incredible anti-cancer properties, and they should make up a significant portion of your daily diet. Let’s take a look at each component in the G-BOMBS lineup and examine its benefits to your overall health.
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Raw, leafy greens are the most nutrient-dense of all foods. They contain substances that protect blood vessels, and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes. Several leafy greens and other green vegetables belong to the cruciferous family of veggies, which contain compounds with potent anti-cancer properties.
About half of the calories in green vegetables, including leafy greens, come from protein, and this plant protein is packaged with beneficial phytochemicals: folate, calcium, and small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans and other legumes are the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source. They act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, having a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings.
They are rich in soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels, as well as high levels of resistant starch, which are not broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber and resistant starch not only reduce the total number of calories absorbed from beans but are also fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that help to prevent colon cancer.
Onions, along with leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions, make up the allium family of vegetables, which play a powerful role in fighting cancer, as well as being anti-diabetic and having beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems.
Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, which are released when onions are chopped, crushed, or chewed. Studies have found that increased consumption of allium vegetables is associated with lower risk of gastric and prostate cancers because they contain compounds that detoxify carcinogens, halt cancer cell growth, and block angiogenesis.
White, cremini, Portobello, oyster, shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties. Some are anti-inflammatory; others stimulate the immune system, prevent DNA damage, slow cancer cell growth, cause programmed cancer cell death, and inhibit angiogenesis.
Mushrooms contain aromatase inhibitors, which can limit the production of estrogen and protect breast tissue from excess estrogen stimulation. There are other anti-cancer compounds in mushrooms that collectively account for their powerful effects against breast cancer.
Note that mushrooms should always be cooked before you eat them: they contain small amounts of a mild toxin called agaritine, which is greatly reduced in the cooking process.
Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients, and their vibrant colors mean that they are full of antioxidants, including flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins.
These antioxidants provide cardio-protective and anti-cancer effects, and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berry consumption has been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers, and cognitive decline, and have been shown to improve both motor coordination and memory.
S: Seeds And Nuts
Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats and are rich in a spectrum of micronutrients including phytosterols, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet aids in weight maintenance and diabetes prevention.
Seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants, but seeds are also abundant in trace minerals and are higher in protein than nuts. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fats, and flax, chia, and sesame seeds are rich in lignans, which have strong anti-cancer effects.
One study on flax that followed a group of women with breast cancer for 10 years found a 71 percent reduced risk of breast-cancer-related deaths in the group that consumed the most lignans. The healthy fats in seeds and nuts also aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables.
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For a more in-depth understanding of Dr. Fuhrman’s nutrient-dense, plant-rich Nutritarian Diet, visit www.drfuhrman.com and read his New York Times best-selling books, Super Immunity and The End of Dieting.