According to a newly published series of studies scientists have found that eating cabbage, cooking meat with garlic and even rubbing yourself all over with extract of broccoli can all help reduce the risk of cancer.
This all adds to the growing evidence that changing your diet may be among the most effective way of prolonging your life.
Experts believe that as much as a third of all cancers are thought to be associated with diet, and after not smoking, eating more fruit and vegetables is the second most effective way to cut the risk of cancer.
Researchers from the University of New Mexico investigating the rapid rise in breast cancer among Polish women who emigrated to the U.S. compared to their counterparts at home, found that those who ate raw or short-cooked cabbage three times a week had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who ate less than one serving a week.
Polish women eat 30lb of cabbage and sauerkraut a year, compared with 10lb a year for US women.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore also that a diet rich in glucosinolates,found in cabbage,broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower,halved the rate of skin cancer in mice.
The glucosinolates in these vegetables are broken down by chewing or cutting into sulphoraphane, which has been shown in previous studies to have anti-cancer properties.
The scientists also applied an extract of sulphoraphane made from broccoli sprouts to the skin of hairless mice after they had been exposed to a dose of ultraviolet light, the equivalent of a day sunbathing on the beach, and found that after the mice had the extract painted on their backs twice a day for 11 weeks, the incidence and size of skin tumours in them was half of that in the untreated controls.
Although the extract did not act as a sunscreen it appeared to inhibit the carcinogenic effects of the ultraviolet light suggesting a "promising strategy" for adults who grew up before sunscreens were widely available.
Researchers from Florida A&M University found using garlic to flavour meat could help counter carcinogenic substances produced by cooking protein.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund the top cancer fighting foods are:-
- Cabbage and all members of the same family, sprouts, watercress and broccoli, the archetypal cancer preventive.
- red and orange peppers
- sunflower seeds
- and brazil nuts.
The studies were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.