Cancer is on the fast-track to surpassing heart disease as the No. 1 killer of Americans by 2030. To understand why cancer is on the rise, let’s take a closer look at cancer cells. Cancer cells are able to avoid the body’s immune response, which allows these cells to grow and spread (metastasis). Why does this happen?

Immunity from the Immune System

Well, for one, there are plenty of environmental triggers that activate genes involved in promoting cancer. These triggers include toxins in the air we breathe and in the food we eat. These poisons turn on tumor promoting genes, ignite proinflammatory molecules, and exhaust detoxifying substances in the liver—all of which sets the stage for cancer development. When cancer cells form, they use myriad mechanisms to avoid immune system detection. Cancer cells have cell surface tags that distinguish them from normal cells. These tagged cells are usually destroyed by immune cells; however, if the immune system becomes weakened or overwhelmed, certain cancer cells survive. The cancer cells that escape immunosurveillance continue to divide and grow into tumors; some tumors can metastasize from the original site to distant organs.

Fighting Back With Black Cumin

Yes, cancer cells are evasive and self-renewing. And their ability to metastasize makes cancer even more difficult to treat. Does that mean you are powerless in the face of cancer. Absolutely not! Cancer can be prevented and treated. Through the combination of cancer-fighting nutrients, individuals can create an inhospitable environment for cancer in their bodies.

You may not realize this but most Americans are walking around with dormant cancer. Autopsy studies were conducted using the cadavers of people in their 20s, and researchers discovered that these young people had cancer in their body. Cancer doesn’t develop when symptoms start. No, cancer festers inside of the body for years. And when cancer pops up, symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and pain may not necessarily set off alarms that cancer is the underlying problem. To prevent cancer, researchers are looking more and more into plant-based foods that contain specialized compounds shown to attack cancer: Nigella sativa is one.

N. sativa is a flowering plant that is indigenous to India and the Mediterranean and Middle East regions with medicinal uses for diabetes, migraines, and cancer. The plant’s seeds also called black cumin contain a potent compound called thymoquinone that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The oil extracted from black cumin seeds has been studied extensively, and findings show that it prevents and treats cancer.


Black cumin seed oil has been shown to increase the activity of immune cells that target cancer cells: it increases T-helper cells by 55% and natural killer cells by 30%.1 Another study finds that black cumin seed oil exerts its anticancer effects by activating tumor suppressor genes, blocking cancer angiogenesis (use of aberrant blood vessels to spread to other tissues), and promoting apoptosis (cancer cell death).2

While black cumin seed oil is just one nutrient, there are many other ways you can fight cancer through your diet. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are packed with anticancer nutrients. Spices such as turmeric attack cancer in over 20 ways. Consume healthy, anti-inflammatory fats such as coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for drizzling over salads.

1.Salem ML. Immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties of the Nigella sativa L. seed. International immunopharmacology. Dec 2005;5(13-14):1749-1770.
2.Rahmani AH, Alzohairy MA, Khan MA, Aly SM. Therapeutic Implications of Black Seed and Its Constituent Thymoquinone in the Prevention of Cancer through Inactivation and Activation of Molecular Pathways. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014.
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