Foods That Help Prevent Cancer

Can eating superfoods help stave off the disease?
blueberry

The short answer to this question is -- drum roll, please -- yes. They really do. While studies are ongoing, and in many cases experts still don't know exactly how these superfoods work, there's strong evidence that certain fruits and vegetables rich in plant-based nutrients can both prevent tumors from starting and halt their growth. Here, the top foods to work into the family diet if you'd like to cut cancer risk or help those with cancer recover. And who wouldn't?

Cancer Fighting Food #1: Blueberries, Acai Berries, Raspberries, and Cranberries

The rich, dark colors of blueberries, Brazilian acai berries, raspberries and cranberries come from phytochemicals that protect against numerous types of cancer. Most recently, researchers at the University of Florida found that the active ingredient in acai berries destroyed cancer cells when tested in cell cultures. And blueberries and muscadine grapes contain compounds that recent research shows cause cancer cells in the liver to self-destruct. In studies particularly important to women, cranberries have recently been discovered to be an important weapon in the fight against deadly ovarian cancer. Studies reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society found that ovarian cancer cells that were becoming resistant to platinum chemotherapy – the standard of care for ovarian cancer – became six times more sensitive when exposed to a compound in cranberries.

The anti-cancer properties of all these berries are so strong that researchers have developing concentrated supplements and other products such as purees and concentrates.

Cancer-Fighting Food #2: Green Tea

One of the first plant-based chemicals to be studied for its anti- cancer properties, catechins -- the chemicals in green tea -- have been known for some time to prevent and reduce recurrence of breast and other cancers. With this particular chemical, experts even know why: a chemical known as EGCG inhibits breast tumor growth, a University of Mississippi study shows. Just two cups a day is enough to do the trick.

Cancer-Fighting Food #3: Garlic

Numerous studies over the years (more than 30 different studies to date) have documented the anti-cancer properties of garlic. The strongest evidence so far has focused on digestive cancers, but garlic appears to protect against all types of cancer, including breast and prostate. According to the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of seven different large-scale population studies showed that the more raw and cooked garlic a person consumed, the lower his risk of stomach and colorectal cancer; one study found that middle-aged women who regularly consumed garlic had a 50 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer. Scientists have isolated two active ingredients in garlic, allicin and allyl sulfur, and demonstrated that they prevent and fight cancer in both animals and humans; you can take garlic in supplement form but the capsules must be enteric-coated to protect these active ingredients. Add crushed, fresh garlic to your meals whenever possible; some experts also recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and chopping the garlic to get the full effects of the active compounds.

Cancer-Fighting Food #4: Broccoli and Cabbage

British researchers made headlines last year with a study that showed that men with early signs of developing prostate cancer prevented tumor growth by eating broccoli four times a week. Other studies have shown anti-cancer benefits from eating cabbage, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables.

Cancer-Fighting Food #5: Onions and Leeks

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies of people from Southern Europe who eat a diet high in garlic and onions show a direct relationship between high consumption of "allium" vegetables (all types of garlic, onions, and leeks) and reduced risk of many common cancers.

Cancer-Fighting Food #6: Tomatoes

Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer. Subsequently, the FDA conducted a review of its own and disagreed, refusing food companies' request to lab el tomato products with an anti-cancer health promotion message. However, many experts believe the FDA's process was flawed and that tomatoes will be vindicated by further studies. The good news: cooking tomatoes seems to enhance the effects of lycopene, qualifying tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a nutritional powerhouse. Bring on the pasta!

Cancer-Fighting Food #7: Resveratrol

The hype about red wine centers on an antioxidant called resveratrol that's present in grapes and grape juice, but is most concentrated in red wine. Numerous studies show that resveratrol possesses powerful anti-cancer activity . Teams at several universities and cancer centers are studying resveratrol's effects against specific types of cancer. Most recently, a University of Nebraska study published in Cancer Prevention Research demonstrated that resveratrol suppresses the abnormal cell growth that leads to most types of breast cancer. Breast cancer is fueled by estrogen, and resveratrol acts to block the action of the estrogen, preventing it from feeding tumor growth. Previously, research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that mice fed a diet enriched with resveratrol had an 87 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate tumors of the most dangerous kind.

The problem, however, is that higher alcohol intake has been linked to cancer as well, particularly breast and esophageal cancer. The solution? One glass of red wine a day, unless you're at risk for or have one of these types of cancer, in which case a resveratrol supplement is a better idea.

Cancer-Fighting Food #8: Soy

The active ingredient in soy is genistein, which is a phytoestrogen that protects against hormone-dependent cancers. It's also a powerful inhibitor of several proteins that are implicated in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. To get the anti-cancer benefits of soy, you need to consume about 50 grams per day of the whole food, such as raw fresh soybeans, known as edamame, dry roasted soybeans, or tofu. The research to date shows that supplements containing isoflavones don't work with the same action as soybeans themselves and in fact can be bad for you rather than good.

Cancer-Fighting Food #9: Turmeric

The orange-yellow spice turmeric, best known for its role in Indian curries and other Asian dishes, fights cancer because of an active ingredient, curcumin, that's a powerful antioxidant. Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus reviewed numerous animal studies and concluded that curcumin demonstrated anti-cancer effects at virtually all stages of tumor development. Researchers in France and Britain also have been studying curcumin's action in the laboratory and concluded that it prevents and slows tumor cell growth. The great news about turmeric is how easy it is to work into the diet, because you don't need very much. Add a teaspoon of the spice to soups, salad dressings, meat and pasta dishes and you'll reap the preventative effects.

Watch out, though; according to the American Cancer Society, turmeric made certain anti-cancer drugs less effective when studied in animals and test tubes. Cancer patients shouldn't add a lot of turmeric to their diets or take curcumin supplements without talking to their doctors first.

 

Cancer-Fighting Food #10: Watercress and Spinach

Okay watercress isn't exactly a major part of the American diet. But maybe it should be, according to researchers in Ireland, who released studies in the past two years showing that eating watercress everyday can prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – but conducted in Ulster where people are more comfortable eating watercress -- found that antioxidants in the nutrient-rich greens prevented free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Spinach, which we're all more familiar with, is also a cancer-fighter; research conducted by the M.D. Anderson Can cer Center in Texas showed spinach to protect against bladder cancer. The chemical that gives spinach its dark green color, chlorophyllin, proved to reduce the risk of liver cancer in research by the National Academy of Sciences. Who cares about muscles? Here's a much more important reason to eat your greens.

None of this is to say that an anti-cancer diet or nutritional supplements should be used in place of doctor-recommended treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation . While there are members of Caring .com's cancer community like Joel MacDonald who are using nutrition to battle their disease and have interesting stories to tell, the experts in this field strongly recommend that those who've already been diagnosed with cancer use anti-cancer nutrients to bolster traditional medical cancer treatment, not to replace it.

A great resource for those interested in learning more about making dietary changes to prevent cancer or cancer recurrence is a new book, AntiCancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, an MD, PhD, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. At the age of 31, Servan-Schreiber, one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders, had a brain tumor surgically removed. After exploring the research on the connections between diet and cancer, Serban-Schreiber embarked on a series of lifestyle changes that he credits with preventing his brain cancer from recurring. Two books by nutritional biochemist Richard Beliveau, Foods to Fight Cancer Foods That Fight Cancer and Cooking with Foods That Fight Cancer, provide specific lists of foods and cooking suggestions that make following an anti-cancer diet straightforward and simple.

The list above is by no means comprehensive. Please comment and share your anti-cancer nutrition and diet ideas.


8 months ago, said...

This has nothing to do with food sorry. I'm just curious , my dad died from kidney cancer after fighting diabetes 30 or more years. My right breast keeps getting a stinging sensation evey minute or 2 I feel something in there but its not a lump its different but I feel it and that's where I'm getting the stinging, I'm afraid I might have cancer. Please let me know if I should be concerned, I'm 49 and going the press menopause. Thank u


over 2 years ago, said...

SO HAPPY TO HAVE COME ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE. FOUND IT TO BE EXTREMELY INFORMATIVE.,ESPECIALLY THAT MY HUSBAND ALSO HAD LUNG CANCER 9 YEARS AGO (NON SMOKER) . i WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE i CAN PURCHASE GRAVIOLA EXTRACT, MANGOSTEEN (XANGO)?


over 2 years ago, said...

if supps "must be enteric-coated to protect these active ingredients", then what's the point of eating raw or cooked garlic? isn't the enteric coating just meant to avoid digestion in the stomach to stop garlic breath?


almost 3 years ago, said...

WATERCRESS NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN DIET...UNDERRATED...


almost 3 years ago, said...

after my last blood test last week, my Dr. said she wants to do further blood testing becasuse my platelets and red cells are low, white cells are high and co2 was low. But these test have been off for years, like 20 years. Why does she think of leukemia now? I am a 59 yr. old female, and am very worried now, how do I handle this and is it a death sentence if positive? What would be the treatment?


over 3 years ago, said...

Would agree with this one except for two things. First off, according to the data base on plants, lima beans contain more genistein than soy beans. Second and most important reason is that most every soy bean grown in the USA is Monsanto GMO seeds, and if you are up on research on GMO seeds, you know why you should avoid them. If you aren't up on GMO produce, look up why India has banned all Monsanto GMO seeds and also the results reported at the end of their 2 year study on GMO produce. The pictures of their little study subjects aren't pretty and I seriously doubt that any thinking person would want to risk growing the tumors/cancers that they have.


over 3 years ago, said...

I don't think many people know about mscadine grape seeds. They are full of antioxidants like ellagic acid, resveratrol and quercitin. Over 100 antioxidants in all! I have a whole food supplement that has had human clinical trials conducted on it, with amazing results! Visit my blog and the sites listed there to learn more and contact info! http://michaelspearlpage.wordpress.com


over 3 years ago, said...

There are two more overlooked cancer fighting foods which I know from personal experience: asparagus and cold pressed coconut oil.


over 3 years ago, said...

is decaffinated green tea as good as green tea?


over 3 years ago, said...

My only comment on these dietary items to stave off cancer is that these foods should be started at infancy to effect the best shield for cancer. Starting adding these to your diet at 30,40,50 and older,probably will give little if any help. By these ages, we have ALL been exposed to the carcinogens that are EVERYWHERE!


over 3 years ago, said...

I make a smoothie for my children I buy the juice 50/50 buy my fresh fruits mix every thing make some put the rest in the freezer for a later date oh and my yogurt and honey if they want it more sweeten .one of them don't like yogurt wont eat fresh fruit so that's how I get them to get their fruit and veggies in them .


over 3 years ago, said...

I WOULD LIKE TO TRANSLATE THIS ARTICLE AND SPREAD IT ON FACEBOOK; MAY i?


over 3 years ago, said...

http://educate-yourself.org/cancer/How%20To%20Cure%20Almost%20Any%20Cancer.pdf


over 3 years ago, said...

is it possible to get cancer at the age of 10?


over 3 years ago, said...

I have a question about taking or using tumeric in it's natural state(freshly uprooted from the ground)- Is it more effective when in its natural raw state? I am from the Pacific and the tumeric is plentiful. Some of us use this in our curries, grated into whatever it is that is to be curried.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Very Helpful!


almost 4 years ago, said...

Love all the Healthy Food articles that may help fight certain medical problems...


almost 4 years ago, said...

What about asparagus?


about 4 years ago, said...

I'm almost 59 in just a couple of weeks, and due to family history, and past medical examinations and operations, plus allergians to poisonous plants and allergies to dust and pollen, 2 colonoscopies that resulted in 3 polyps being removed, risk of cancer is great due to members of family having cancer, two died from cancer(Dad of congestive heart failure and cancer entire right side of body, aged 79,died 9-2006-sister of lung cancer , (not of smoking), died 9-2010, aged 54). Now, my condition-Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, and Asperger Syndrome. The only thing that's been officiated since my early days of adulthood-Dyspraxia, and that's been within 2 years. I'm still working on the diagonises of Asperger syndrome only because the doctors have no idea of exactly what the story is to this day. Why am I saying all this? One-yes I am worried about getting cancer in my colon, so far, I'm clean. But-the risk is still there. I am doing what I can to stay away from that disease. Two-of the resources available to me by both the internet and college of which I'm full time student-sometime down the road intend to go to libraries-maybe. Because of my level of Autism in the Autism spectrum, from a website dealing with Autism, I'm finding certain foods can help me in dealing with all those symptoms plus the possibility of cancer. If it weren't for MSN and yahoo, and the internet-my chances of cancer would be greater plus not knowing how to deal with my other dysorders. 2 years ago after my sister died, I changed my diet immediately-I'm healthier, but still a long ways to go. It's the reason I'm signing up to learn more about the foods that can help me live a healthier life. Thanks!


about 4 years ago, said...

is tumeric good for fibromyalgia?


about 4 years ago, said...

Good to know. Thanks.


about 4 years ago, said...

Been studying cancers, lymphomas and leukemia for some time. Keep cross-refer. Essiac (or Flor-essence), Colonics (or enemas ie. Gerson Therapy Institute/ benefits can be as far reaching as to the cellular level, cancer diet, lots of fresh juiced greens and unchlorinated water. Have used and benefited from all myself. Have my father in law (whose presently going thru chemo) on Flor-Essence. He was ANTI any thing natural ! And is still pretty much!!! But he now "Professes the powers" of his "Tea" (Flor-Essence). Also have him on Oncolyn which is supportive. I Buy both online. Have his wife on bulk Essiac (which I still take) for energy and depression!!!! God is so Good to provide soooo much good natural foods, herbs, spices and options! Truly believe he designed our bodies to want to and work towards healing. Just gotta fuel it with the sources it was desighned to run on!!! Know if no one could figure out or fix my broken down car. I could prob. get some good tips from the ones who designed it ( and the manual it came with)!!!! Five years ago didnt know if I would be around or functioning. Doctors were little help. Was scared and in huge amounts of pain (organ) for years. Just GAVE UP!!!! Have a little boy that motivated me to keep on pressing on! Cried for God to give me new desires for the right things to eat and do, replacing the wrong and damaging ones. Had to learn to trust, to eat (literally by faith) as there was no INSTANT turn around or healing! But can say with out a doubt I am healthier, happier and most certainly not in the pain that ruled my life just a couple of years ago. It has been a slow uphill battle. But what a rewarding one. I have reaped the benefits of preservering!!! Hard lesson for Me! What a joy I have now! I Trust my designer and great physican. Still dont know how long I or any of us will be here! But know and trust....I am gonna keep this faith walk in my diet, life and experiences. I see my "Health Adventure" as just that. But also as a Monument that marked the change that has brought me a healthier body and life as well as a Huge Education in every respect! Others have also been encouraged by the positive results that they have seen touch me! Some have also under taken some seemingly impossible dietary changes themself that has blessed them as well. My nagging got no where! But my health improvement affected them! I just encourage all! No matter what a well meaning Doctor, expert, diagnosis or prognosis labels "incurable"......OFTEN it just isnt the case! Wishing God's Best to All !!!


about 4 years ago, said...

Very informative I have already been diagnose with lung and bone cancer Chemo has shrunk. The lung but the bone in hip and groin is spreading and small fracture in the groin area. So if any of this helps extent my Life by any amount terminal or helps make me feel better . Then I will definately try Actually my spirits seem to be good Thank you


about 4 years ago, said...

Is there any information regarding the best Anti-Cancer foods to fight Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma ?


about 4 years ago, said...

is known that Catsup , has higher amounts of licopene and more antioxidant power , is extrange that the canned corn has more antioxidants than the raw , well not all prcessed food are bad


about 4 years ago, said...

yes it's recomended to crush the garlic cloves and wait 10 minuts , before to use them so the alicin gets oxidized , more active more stable,


about 4 years ago, said...

It just reminded me to eat healthy.....Very often I just grab anything I can find on my table, not so good, right ?


over 4 years ago, said...

I believe that eating healthy can help! But what is eating healthy? Try to go back from scratch. Organic foods, no canned foods, no bottled drinks ,natural seasoning, lots of fruits, vegetables....... I guess it also is how we prepare our meals and with what. Almond milk has been known to be better for you than regular milk.. It is really taking the time to make sure you eat right. It is all about-YOU taking care of yourself! I had breast cancer in May 2009... and I can tell you that I have changed my way of looking at food... especially junk food! Monica