An anti-cancer diet is an important strategy you can use to reduce your risk of cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that you eat at least five servings of fruits and
vegetables daily and eat the right amount of food to stay at a healthy weight. In addition,
researchers are finding that certain foods may be particularly useful in protecting you from
All cruciferous veggies contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one
with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes
and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals.
Helps fight: breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach and bladder cancers.
All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Black raspberries, in
particular, contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which slow
down the growth of premalignant cells and keep new blood vessels from forming.
Helps fight: colon, esophageal, oral and skin cancers.
This fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red
hue. Lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study in Nutrition and
Helps fight: endometrial, lung, prostate and stomach cancers.
Phytosterols in walnuts have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer
cells, possibly slowing the cells’ growth.
Helps fight: breast and prostate cancers.
Phytochemicals in garlic have been found to halt the formation of nitrosamines,
carcinogens formed in the stomach when you consume nitrates, a common food preservative.
Women with the highest amount of garlic in their diets have a 50% lower risk of certain colon
Helps fight: breast, colon, esophageal and stomach cancers.
A study of Michigan University found that black and navy beans significantly reduced colon
cancer incidence in rats, in part because a diet rich in the legumes increases levels of the fatty
acid butyrate, which has protective effects against cancer growth.
Helps fight: breast and colon cancers.
What not to eat?
While researchers are still trying to determine which foods have the most cancer-preventing
benefits, we do know what not to eat if you want to protect yourself, says Cheryl Forberg RD,
author of Positively Ageless.
Some cured meats tend to be high in nitrites and nitrates, preservatives that can, in large
amounts, potentially increase your risk of stomach and other cancers.
Meat, cheese and butter can be rich in saturated fat, which has been linked to obesity – a
big cancer predictor. Opt for leaner protein sources such as fish, low fat dairy and those good for-you beans.
What not to drink
- Excessive alcohol – Stop after one drink!
- Too much tippling is associated with an increased risk of cancers of the mouth,
esophagus and breast.
- Soda and carbonated beverages – filled with high-fructose corn syrup dyes and a host of
other chemicals, sodas are very bad for every aspect of your health. They provide zero
nutritional value and rob your body of the nutrients you get from other foods.