Nature has a lot to offer when it comes to treating various diseases, including cancer. There are many foods that have been found to contain natural compounds that promote anticancer activities. However, there are only a few anticancer foods that can actually target and destroy cancer stem cells. These cells are the biggest reason for cancer malignancy.
One of which is turmeric, which has an active compound known as curcumin, which targets cancer stem cells. A recent study showed that curcumin has better and more positive effects than 5-fluorouracil, a chemotherapy drug, when it comes to killing stem cells of colon cancer. Another research displayed that that ginger has a compound that is more effective in targeting and destroying breast cancer stem cells, when compared to a chemo drug known as taxol. Other foods that are rich in ellagic acid, such as blueberries are also effective in killing stem cells of cancer.
Meanwhile, the new cancer research entitled Natural Products that Target Cancer Stem Cells, which is published in the journal known as Anticancer Research, gave a list of 25 substances that are naturally found in foods. Among these substances are the following:
- Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is found in green tea
- Beta-carotene found in carrots as well as in leafy greens
- Curcumin found in turmeric
- Ellagic acid which is also found in green tea and as mentioned, blueberries as well as other berries
- Baicalein which you can find in Chinese skullcap
- Delphinidin in blueberries and raspberries
- Glucoraphanin which you can find in cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage and broccoli
- Lycopene in tomatoes and grapefruits
- Indole-3-carbinol also in cruciferous veggies
- Guggulsterone from the myrrh tree
- Vitamin D3 in fish, beef, sunlight, and egg yolk
- Withaferin A from ashwagandha
- Resveratrol in red grapes, berries, and plums
- Ursolic acid from oregano and thyme
- Piperine in black pepper
The substances mentioned above are much smarter than chemotherapy. The primary reason why chemo and radiation therapy fail on some patients is because many cancer stem cells are resistant to treatments like them. In fact, there are some pieces of evidence that show how chemo and most especially radiation therapy make the stem cells of cancer even more aggressive. Aside from that, there are many side effects of these therapies and they can even damage the immune system. The listed substances could become the future of cancer treatment because they kill the stem cells, so that cancer survival rate is higher and patients will not experience many negative side effects.