20 Cancer-Fighting Foods

Kia ora, health and wellness friends!

Cancer research has recently focused on cancer-fighting foods.

20 Cancer Fighting Foods

Research has recently shown these foods to be effective in fighting cancer. Fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a change in diet is helpful in reducing cancer risk, yet  no single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself.  Strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a wide variety of healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.

AICR recommends filling at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.  Always check with your doctor or trusted health care provider or practitioner before making a change in your diet.


oranges lemonsORANGES and LEMONS can be helpful in fighting cancer cells.  Citrus fruits, help protect against DNA-damaging free radicals that can cause cellular damage, alter the DNA and  increase the risk of cancer.  Citrus fruits contain hundreds of bioactive compounds with anti-cancer properties. Citrus fruits contain flavonoids and monoterpenes.  Foods high in vitamin C, can protect against cancer of the esophagus, and foods high in fiber can help to decrease  colorectal cancer risk.

blueberries-strawberriesBLUEBERRIES and STRAWBERRIES have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Blueberries are among the highest antioxidant fruits, having many phytochemicals.  Strawberries also contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, called flavonoids. AICR has evidence that berries high in vitamin C and fiber protect against cancer. Laboratory studies show that phytochemicals seem to have have anti-cancer properties and that they are effective in preventing cancers of the bladder, lung, breast, skin, and esophagus.

grapesGRAPES contain a plant chemical called resveratrol, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, hidden in grape skins – especially purple and red ones.  Studies from the AICR have shown that resveratrol keep cancer cells from growing and inhibit tumors. Laboratory research has shown resveratrol’s ability to slow cancer cell growth and the forming of tumors in stomach, liver, breast and lymph cells. Resveratrol has also shown to be effective in destroying colon and leukemic cancer tumors.

Swiss Chard KaleKALE, SWISS CHARD, other dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce,  and chicory  are high in fiber, folate and carotenoidssuch as lutein and zeaxanthin, and also saponins and flavonoids.AICR’s s report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, stated that foods containing carotenoids probably protect against cancers of the larynx, pharynx and mouth.

broccoli BROCCOLI is probably the best known cruciferous vegetable. Broccoli, CABBAGE (green),  cauliflower, brussels sprouts, rapini,  and turnips (white), it forms a “head.” Others known as the “headless crucifers” are the dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens. Research has shown that cruciferous vegetables can aid in preventing cancers.

garlicGARLIC can be effective in stopping the growth of cancer tumors.  According to AICR’s report, garlic and others belonging to the family of vegetables called Allium (which also includes scallions, onions, , chives and leeks) can protect against stomach cancer and colorectal cancer and to slow or stop the growth of tumors in bladder, stomach, prostate, and colon.

green teaGREEN TEA contains polyphenols and flavonoids, which are strong antioxidants. Tea is the best source of catechins in the human diet, and green tea contains about three times the amount of catechins found in black tea.  Catechins have been recently studied for their anti-cancer properties.  Green tea has been shown to slow and/or prevent the development of cancer cells in liver, breast, prostate, and colon in laboratory studies.

tomatoTOMATOES can be powerful cancer-fighting foods. The red color comes primarily from lycopene.  AICR’s report shows convincing evidence that foods containing the phytochemical lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.  Lycopene and its related compounds tend to concentrate in tissues of the prostate. Researcher’s have been studying the tomato in the laboratory, and tomato components have stopped the forming of cancer cells including endometrial, breast,and  lung.

lentilsLENTILS and beans are legumes. They are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin. Foods containing folate most likely help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer because of folate’s role in healthy cell division and repair of damaged cells.

contain a plant compound known as capsaicin. Recent research with laboratory animals suggests that capsaicin may represent a potential treatment for colon cancer.  A study in Taiwan in Taiwan exposed human colon cancer cells to capsaicin and suggested that capsaicin may effectively block tumor growth in colon cancer patients. The results of this research appeared in the December 2010 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.”

avocadoAVOCADOS may be helpful in stopping cell growth in prostate cancer. Avocados contain the highest amount of the carotenoid luteinutein of all common fruit. They also contain related carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene, and significant amounts of vitamin E.   A very recent study showed that an extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells.

ginger rootGINGER has been shown to halt cancer cell growth. Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center studied the effect of ginger in ovarian cancer cells. Ginger selectively killed the ovarian cancer cells that resisted standard cancer therapy treatment.

turmericTURMERIC is a spice produced from the rhizomes Curcuma longa. Curcumin gives turmeric most of its medicinal benefits. Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and  Jane Higdon, a cancer researcher at Oregon State University examined the possible reasons why turmeric provides protection against cancer and aids in apoptosis, the process where the body removes genetically damaged cells and unwanted cells.

flax seedFLAXSEED and its oil have been promoted since the 1950s as a food and dietary supplement with anti-cancer properties. Most of the evidence of its ability to prevent the growth or spread of cancer has come from studies in animals. Recently there has been some clinical evidence suggesting that flaxseed supplements may be useful in men with early-stage prostate cancer.

More research is being conducted every day. Always check with your trusted, chosen health practitioner and health-care provider when choosing a new diet or plan of treatment.

American Cancer Society – “The Color of Prevention,”
American Cancer Society  – “ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention,”
American Institute for Cancer Research – “AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer” 
American Institute for Cancer Research – “Carotenoids and Breast Cancer Prevention”
American Institute for Cancer Research – “Tomatoes Plus Soy May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer
American Institute for Cancer Research – “The Spices of Cancer Prevention”
Oncology Nutrition, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Cancer Fighting Foods”
Dyer, Diana. A Dietitian’s Cancer Story, www.cancerrd.com


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

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