On Saturday, June 2nd, Stockslagers is partnering with the Noble Circle Project and Women’s Wellness to raise money for cancer research. Create your own combination planter to donate $20 to the cause. In the spirit of cancer awareness, we want to share how gardening can help improve cancer outcomes.
According to oncology dietitians around the world, research shows a direct connection between diet and cancer outcomes. This month, Stockslagers is joining forces with Women’s Wellness and Noble Circle to illuminate how gardening can help prevent and fight cancer, and how the very foods in your garden can give you a better life.
In this article, we will show you how to plan and grow a cancer-fighting garden. These foods are chock-full of antioxidants that fight free-radicals and help prevent signs of aging. These foods are especially important for those fighting cancer because they can help healthy tissue cope with chemotherapeutic drugs and radiotherapy. These foods can even help prevent cancer.
Studies show that a plant-based diet fights cancer because it keeps our insulin levels low. A low-glycemic diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables is ideal for the cancer patient. Here are some of the best cancer-fighting foods that you can grow at home:
- Leafy Greens such as Kale and Spinach: According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, leafy greens have the fiber, folate, carotenoids, saponins and flavonoids that can protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. Research finds that the “carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer, and stomach cancer.”
When to plant:
Plant kale in full sun, from early spring to early summer. You can plant kale late in the summer and harvest it all autumn long until the ground freezes in winter.
You can plant spinach very early in the spring or late in the summer for a fall crop, as spinach is very cold-hardy. Spinach loves cool weather, so don’t be afraid to plant from seed as soon as you can work the soil.
- Broccoli: Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage contain loads of dietary fiber and carotenoids including beta-carotene. Diets high in these vegetables can prevent against colorectal cancers, mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers, and lung cancers.
When to plant:
Like spinach, broccoli can be grown in the spring or fall. Broccoli requires full sun and moist, fertile, slightly acidic soil.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are so easy to cook with, and they’re full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Research shows that the antioxidants in tomatoes can help prevent the growth of cancer cells and prevent cell damage. Extensive studies show that lycopene in tomatoes can prevent the growth of prostate tumors.
When to plant:
Tomatoes are easy to grow, and one of the joys of summer is eating cherry tomatoes off the vine. Plant anytime between April and September but keep in mind that tomatoes are a warm season crop.
- Garlic: What would Italian food be without garlic? This cancer-fighter boosts enzymes that detoxifies carcinogens in the body and helps with DNA repair. Garlic also slows the growth and stimulates self-destruction of cancer cells while keeping normal cells healthy. Many cultures around the world have used garlic as a medicine for centuries. No wonder!
When to Plant:
Garlic is an autumn-lover. Traditionally, the best time to plant garlic isn’t until after the autumn equinox, so it can pop above ground in early spring.
- Onions: According to researchers at Cornell University, yellow onions are effective in fighting liver and colon cancer. Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D. says, “Onions are one of the richest sources of flavonoids in the human diet. Flavonoid consumption has been associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Flavonoids are not only anti-cancer but are also known to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-allergenic, and anti-inflammatory.”
When to Plant:
If you’re starting onions from seed, start them indoors and transfer into the garden when it’s still cool out in the spring. Onions don’t mind a light frost, and in many areas will be ready for harvest in May.
- Blueberries: Any food that’s this full of dietary fibers is good for cancer prevention. Fiber helps the body feel full, which leads to less eating, and excess body fat increases cancer risk. Blueberries are a cancer fighting dream. They prevent against mouth, breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Blueberries also prevent against esophageal cancer, lung cancer, and stomach cancer.
How to Grow
Blueberries are some of the easiest fruits to grow, and they’re native to the United States! Plant them anytime, and prune in early spring before it gets warm. Space them 4-6 feet apart and wait for the delicious, nutritious fruits to grow!
Living in America, it can seem impossible sometimes to eat healthy on a regular basis. In this fast-food world, it's more important than ever to grow your own food at home. Luckily, growing your own cancer-fighting garden is an easy and rewarding experience that can do wonders for your health and wellbeing!