Fish, Endive and Onions, Oh My!

red onions found to help reduce the risk of ovarian cancerSeptember is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Diet plays a major role in maintaining the overall health and function of the ovaries and some experts believe that one-third of all cancers can be prevented by what you eat.

Angiogenesis is the body’s process of growing new blood vessels. The Angiogenesis Foundation researches the way certain foods contain natural substances called angiogenesis inhibitors that suppress the blood vessels and essentially eliminate the blood supply to the disease. In other words, certain foods we consume can starve the cancer cells and keep them from reproducing. So, what should you be eating to prevent ovarian cancer?

  1. Fish – A series of studies from Northern Italy showed that eating fish reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 30%. The same omega-3 fatty acids in fish that are good for your heart and protect against stroke also protect against cancer. Omega-3s are anti-angiogenic, so they starve cancers by cutting off the blood supply to them. You have to watch out for mercury though, so choose salmon, sardines, mackerel or herring.  If you’re not a fish fan, a high quality krill oil supplement is loaded with omega 3’s and offers all the benefits, without the fishy taste.
  2. Endive – The Belgium variety resembles the head of a white tulip and taste very similar to cabbage without the acidic aftertaste. What makes the endive so powerful in the fight against ovarian cancer? It contains kaempferol, a naturally occurring component that literally starves the cancer cells by preventing them from growing blood vessels. Studies of more than 62,000 women in the Netherlands have found those who ate endive had a 75% reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer. In order to receive the benefits from this plant you should consume 1/2 cup twice a week. This is a salad vegetable so you can easily toss it into your salad raw.
  3. Onions – This eye-watering, stinky superfood really packs a punch!  Red onions in particular are made up of cancer fighters, like apigenin, anthocyanin, myricetin and quercetin. However, the way in which you eat them can significantly impact their effectiveness. Boiling onions removes up to 30% of those crucial nutrients. If you really can’t eat them raw, try baking them or sautéing them in olive oil.  You also need to consume at least half a cup daily, so break it up over several meals.