10 Foods to Prevent Cancer

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Every year more than 500,000 people die from cancer in the United States alone.

Many researchers and cancer specialists believe that up to 60% of those deaths can be prevented if Americans adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute,

“The easiest and least expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet.”

Here is an overview of ten important cancer fighting foods to include in your diet on a regular basis:

1. Garlic – Garlic contains a number of compounds that can protect against cancer, especially that of the skin, colon, and lungs.

2. Dark Leafy Greens – Dark greens are rich sources of antioxidants called carotenoids.ย  These scavenge dangerous free radicals from the body before they can promote cancer growth.

3. Grapes – Grapes (and red wine) contain the chemical resveratrol, which is a very potent antioxidant that can prevent cell damage before it begins.

4. Green Tea – The flavonoids in green tea have been shown to slow or prevent the development of several types of cancer including colon, liver, breast, and prostate.

5. Tomatoes – The compound lycopene, (which is most easily absorbed from cooked tomatoes) has been shown to prevent prostate cancer, as well as cancer of the breast, lung, and stomach.

6. Blueberries – Of all the berries, blueberries are the richest in cancer fighting compounds.ย  They are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

7. Flaxseeds – Flax contains lignans, which can have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes.ย  The omega-3 fatty acids can also help protect against colon cancer.

8. Mushrooms – Many mushrooms contain compounds that can help the body fight cancer and build the immune system as well.

9. Cruciferous Vegetables – Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts contain strong antioxidants that may help decrease cancer risk.

10. Whole Grains – Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds including antioxidants, fiber, and phytoestrogens.ย  These can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer.

Remember, along with a healthy diet, a physically active lifestyle is important for cancer prevention as well.

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Image credit: William Couch on flickr creative commons.

More on Disease Prevention:
Pomegranate Juice May Help Prevent Cancer
Preventing Osteoporosis: Food and Drink to Build Bone Density
Whole Food Nutrition vs. Supplements

19 thoughts on “10 Foods to Prevent Cancer”

  1. Maybe not everybody is aware that cancer is also now called a lifestyle disease. It depends on what you eat and how you live your life. Sometimes, a negligence to maintain the body resistance. The foods provided above are abundant in supply, so why not take these foods and avoid cancer.

  2. This is a great list. Adding superfoods to your diet is one way to protect yourself from cancer and many so-called age-related diseases. People many times accept the “fact” that getting older means getting heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol and arthritis. However, a healthy lifestyle can help protect us from those things and keep us illness and disease free well into “old age.”

  3. I have been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus and was told to avoid tomatoes because of the acid reflux symptoms associated with that, but tomatoes are supposed to be good for stomach cancer? Is there another way to take Lycopene to prevent against stomach cancer? Also, I have recently seen an article that coffee is good to prevent esophageal cancer . . . Do you know if coffee is good for esophageal cancer before your diagnosed with Barrett’s or after the Barrett’s has formed?

  4. Hi Annie, a study published in the January 2006 Journal of Nutrition showed the lycopene in tomatoes and tomato products to lower the risk for stomach cancer, especially in people who smoke. You can find lycopene in supplement form, I’m not certain if it would affect your Barrett’s or not. You should check with your physician before you start taking it.
    I’ve heard opinions from both sides of the coffee/esophageal cancer debate. In general coffee is very acidic to the body, and consumed in excess can have a negative impact on the acid/alkaline balance. I don’t think it would be wise for someone diagnosed with a highly acidic condition such as Barrett’s to drink it.

  5. Also about the tomato/lycopene issue you should remember the established -though seldom mentioned- fact that the lycopene becomes more readily available for the body when the tomato is cooked. Also there was a recent study stating that tomato also reduces the prostate cancer risk on men. I seem to remember that the reduction was quite considerable compared to the group eating no tomato products.

    Coffee is a delicate subject, as the symptoms and effects of it are very subjective: I can -for example- drink an espresso without any symptoms, but any portion larger than that causes reflux symptoms on me. For me it’s more portion size issue than anything else.

    Overall, the list is excellent and should be spread more to the nutrition experts around the (western) world.

  6. What about raisins? Would eating red raisins provide the same benefit as eating grapes or drinking red wine, or are the beneficial compounds in grapes lost somehow in the drying process?

  7. we used green tea and mushrooms as part of a natural protocol for active leukemia for our son Jaymun – and got him into remission after chemo had failed.

  8. I have a gene that loves to make cancer cells. I have one kidney and half of a bladder. what all foods can I eat to help myself and what atypes of exercize. please help

    1. Hi, I just saw this. I just found a fabulous source for natural cures, it is called: http://www.earthclinic.com

      The site has numerous alternative treatment for most ailments–and what I love about it the most is that people from all over the world comment on what works–and what doesn’t.

      Check it out–you may just find a cure that could help you!

      All the best,


    1. I know what u mean, my rat died from testicular cancer tumor. Bleh! Fink lived for a good long 3 yrs. (I think it's because rodents are inbred when they are sold as "pets".) He really liked strawberries and watermellon, he didn't really know what to do w/ broccoli? you could add small bits in w/ the regular pellet mix, add some fresh seeds, and oats. there is a liquid vitamins supplement u can mix w/ their water: Vita-Drops. OR you could get laughed out of the vets office…

  9. I've taken her to the vet already for breast cancer, which they removed about 2 years ago. But now it's back, and I'm trying to decide at the moment if I want to have the surgery done one more time, and this time feed her some of the foods listed here, or if I should just let her go because she is about 3 years old. But she's like my baby, and it kills me to just let her die. I'm sorry to hear about your little guy. =(

    And actually- I might have some of those vitadrops laying around from when I use to have a guinea pig. Thanks for the idea…

  10. WOW! Thank you so very much! I’m a young adult and I can’t wait to start my life the right way. I’m heading to the natural food store to pick these up tomorrow morning!

    I love how God supplies everything we need to be healthy and whole. Thank you Jesus!

  11. Only way the food will ever be healthy is to grow it yourself with out pesticides or herbicide’s, every food source in a grocery store has been subjected to chemicals.

    Unless it is organic and grown at home, it will have residual carcinogens.

  12. Plus, most of the items on this list are quite tasty. I mix flax seed oil with protein shakes. There still is a slight bitter taste, but it is very minimal. Also, it is worth to note that frozen fruits and vegetables are good for you. Frozen vegetables can actually be better for you because it keeps the nutrients in the vegetable. As I like to say, Eat well, eat healthy, your taste buds can’t save you!

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