Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Can multi-seed bread cure or prevent cancer?
Ellen, Derbyshire, England
A: While there is no singular food that can cure or prevent cancer, there are certain foods that we recommend as part of an overall healthful diet. Seeds such as sunflower, flax, or pumpkin all contain micronutrients that support a strong body.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, selenium and magnesium. Vitamin E and selenium have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects while magnesium contributes to the physical structure of bone.
Flax seeds are high in the omega-3 alpha linolenic acids (ALA) and lignan, a source of phytoestrogens. Omega-3 fats may reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, blood clots, and encourage healthy brain development in children. In cancer patients, preliminary research suggests that diets that include omega-3s may reduce inflammation and help prevent muscle loss associated with cancer treatment.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is important for the immune system and can help to stimulate bone formation.
The best way to ensure you get the benefits of these seeds is to grind them and incorporate them into your bread to ensure the body absorbs them properly. All three seeds can also be found in oil form and used in healthy salad dressings.
However, the multi-seed bread is also a good option for incorporating more seeds in your diet. Look for bread that is higher in fiber and free of processed ingredients or additives.