In honor of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, we checked in with Maria Petzel, senior clinical dietitian for the Pancreas Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a member of our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, and asked her which veggies she recommends for pancreatic cancer patients (and everyone, for that matter!).
Here’s what she said:
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, watercress, cauliflower and broccoli – these veggies are a great source of the phytochemical glucosinolate, which converts to isothiocyanates (which have been shown to have anti-pancreatic cancer properties in cell and animal studies, including suppressing the growth and spread of cancer cells, and killing pancreatic cancer cells). Cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulfur and support detoxification.
Soy foods like edamame, tofu, and unsweetened soy milk – soy is filled with phytochemicals, known as genistein. In cell and animal studies, genistein was associated with cancer cell death and inhibiting cancer cells from growing and spreading to other parts of the body (metastasis). Soy foods are a great source of plant-based protein.
Onions and garlic – onions have cancer-fighting compounds called flavonoids. Garlic has also been associated with stopping tumor cell growth, while also enhancing the taste of food.
Dark leafy greens – kale, especially, is loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are known to fight cancer. Kale is also rich in kaempferol, a flavonoid that inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells.
Before incorporating any of these vegetables into your diet, please connect with your doctor and/or a registered dietitian if you are a pancreatic cancer patient.
For more information on these vegetables and other nutrient-packed foods that may be helpful for pancreatic cancer patients, or to get a copy of our Diet and Nutrition Booklet, please call PanCAN Patient Services at 877-272-6226 to speak with a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager.
Pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers can access comprehensive disease information, reviewed and approved by renowned leaders in the field, including Petzel, by calling the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s one-on-one PanCAN Patient Services support service at 877-272-6226 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.