The Anti-Cancer Diet: Cancer Fighting Foods to Help Prevent Cancer (Evidence Based)

The Anti-Cancer Diet: Cancer Fighting Foods to Help Prevent Cancer

Enjoying a healthy diet can do much to lower your risk of developing serious diseases such as cancer. Including foods in your diet such as plenty of green leafy vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, and oily fish can help prevent many health issues. Although no single food can stop cancer, consuming more “cancer-fighting foods” in your diet can help reduce your risk of developing the disease.

The best foods in a cancer prevention diet contain vitamins and antioxidants that help to strengthen your immune system. The cancer protection diet benefits come from combining a variety of foods that have anticancer properties.

There is also a lot of scientific data on foods that fight cancer. Natural cancer-fighting compounds such as lycopene, phytochemicals, carotenoids, sulfur, and fiber are found in many foods. Eating the right combination of these anti-cancer foods can make a difference in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer.

In this article, you will learn about the best cancer-killing foods and spices that are backed up by scientific research. You will also find out how to use these foods in your cancer prevention diet to keep yourself as healthy as possible.

The Link Between Diet and Cancer Prevention

Many doctors agree that diet and cancer are closely linked and there are many foods that help reduce your cancer risk.

The Nutrition Journal published research on the benefits of an anti-cancer diet. Research has shown that dietary choices could play a role in reducing the risk of cancer by up to 40%. Foods containing vitamins C and D, selenium, chlorophyll, and antioxidants have all been linked to cancer prevention. (1)

Some scientific evidence also points to the fact that including cancer fighting superfoods such as broccoli sprouts in your diet is very beneficial.

What are the basic principles of the “cancer diet” to reduce your risk of the disease? The cancer prevention diet should consist of multiple servings of fruits and vegetables daily, increasing your fiber intake, and consuming essential fatty acids. It is also important to cut out red meat, refined carbohydrates, and added sugar. (1)

Let’s look in more detail at some of the best cancer-fighting foods you should include in your diet.

Green Leafy Vegetables and the Cancer Diet

The best diet to prevent cancer should include plenty of green leafy vegetables for their high antioxidant content.

Research has uncovered that vegetables such as kale, rocket, and greens from root vegetables contain powerful antioxidants. For example, green leafy veggies contain compounds such as lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene that are linked to a lower risk of cancer. (2)

The results of one cohort study showed that increasing the consumption of green leafy vegetables could lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 56%. (3)

Another reason why green leafy vegetables are in the cancer prevention diet is that they contain chlorophyll. One study found that chlorophyll from green vegetables can help reduce the risk of colon cancer. (4)

Increasing your consumption of vegetables and cutting out red meat can also help you lose weight which is also linked to cancer prevention. One study found that losing weight can help obese women lower their risk of endometrial cancer. (5)

Eating spinach helps to cut your cancer risk

Spinach contains cancer prevention compounds called glycoglycerolipids. Studies have shown that these therapeutic compounds help prevent DNA damage and can help reduce the risk of certain cancers. (6)

Spinach also contains beta-carotene and vitamin A which have been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. (7)

Cruciferous Vegetables to Help Prevent Cancer

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts should be part of your anti-cancer diet plan.

Research has shown that vegetables belonging to the Brassicaceae family have cancer prevention properties. Cruciferous veggies contain chemo-preventive properties that can reduce your risk of developing cancer. (8)

Some studies have shown that the compound sulforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables has been linked to lowering the risk of breast, liver, lung, and colon cancer. (9)

Consume kale on an anti-cancer diet

A systematic review of 31 studies on the benefits of cruciferous vegetables in a diet to prevent cancer reported that kale is among the best cancer-fighting foods. Compounds in kale help to inhibit the activity of certain carcinogens and prevent damage to DNA. (10)

Research published in 2017 found that compounds in kale have a protective effect on human liver cells. This anti-cancer effect of kale helps protect the body against the damage toxins can cause. (11)

Kale has many other health benefits which make it a true superfood.

Broccoli is an anti-cancer superfood

Broccoli is one of the richest sources of sulforaphane which is known to reduce cancer risk.

The journal Future Oncology reported that broccoli and broccoli sprouts have a preventative effect against cancer. (12)

In one study, scientists found that a diet high in broccoli sprout consumption helped reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Anti-cancer properties in broccoli helped to inhibit the progression of cancer cells. (13)

Find out more about the amazing health benefits of broccoli as a superfood.

Cabbage has anticancer potential

Another cruciferous vegetable to include in a diet to prevent cancer is cabbage.

In one laboratory trial involving mice, scientists identified that cabbage contains the compound phytoalexin which has cancer-killing properties. (14)

Of course, it is good to remember that no single food or vegetable can completely stop cancer. However, regularly including generous portions of vegetables in your diet can help as a cancer-fighting tool.

Cabbage has many other health benefits which you can read in this article.

Brightly-Colored Vegetables are Great Anti-Cancer Foods

Vegetables that have vibrant colors are good foods that can help to prevent cancer.

Research published in the journal Advances in Nutrition reported that yellow, red, and orange, vegetables are rich sources of compounds that prevent cancer. Some of the best cancer killing vegetables are red peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots. These contain phytochemicals with antioxidant activity. (15)

Some studies have found that combining veggies and fruits from various color groups can help reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. (16)

Tomatoes are among the best foods to prevent cancer

Tomatoes are one of the best lycopene foods to include in a cancer-killing diet.

A 2016 systematic review found that lycopene in tomato is linked to cancer prevention. Various studies have shown that increasing the number of tomatoes in the diet can help prevent prostate cancer. (17)

Other studies have shown that lycopene foods can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer in humans. (18)

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, it is recommended to cook tomatoes for a few minutes, as cooking increases the bio-availability of lycopene which is better absorbed in comparison to tomatoes that haven’t been cooked. Adding a little bit of olive oil to cooked tomatoes will further increase the amount of lycopene absorbed in the body.

To help increase the effectiveness of some cancer healing foods, find out the best ways to prepare vegetables for cancer prevention.

Beets have a protective effect against cancer

Beets are another brightly-colored vegetable that has cancer-fighting properties. Research has shown that beets contain a compound called betanin that has chemo-preventive properties. Beetroot extract can help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer or help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. (19)

One study found that a beetroot and carrot juice drink could help to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia. (20)

Further reading: Proven Health Benefits of Beets (Science Based).

Fiber Helps Reduce Cancer Risk

Cancer-killing foods should contain plenty of fiber to help prevent cancer in men and women.

One screening trial involving thousands of participants found a link between increased fiber intake and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. (21)

Other studies have shown that women in their 40s or 50s can reduce their risk of breast cancer by increasing their intake of fiber. (22)

You may help to prevent cancer by starting your day with a “cancer-fighting breakfast.” A 2016 systematic review of 43 studies found that consuming whole grain cereals could lower your risk of cancer by between 6% and 47%. However, not all studies found a link between increased fiber intake and cancer prevention. (23)

Some of the best sources of dietary fiber are apples, pears, green peas, Brussels sprouts, carrots, bran flakes, and oatmeal. You should also opt for whole-wheat spaghetti or brown rice to increase your fiber intake. (24)

Learn more about how fiber also helps to cleanse your colon and prevents many digestive issues.

Beans and Legumes are Cancer Fighting Foods

An anticancer diet should contain servings of lentils, peas, beans, or chickpeas because they help prevent cancer.

A case-control study found that increasing your legume intake can help lower your risk of certain cancers. The results of studies showed that consuming legumes can help prevent stomach cancer, kidney cancer, and colorectal cancer. (25)

The result of a meta-analysis of cohort studies in 2015 found that legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in men and women. (26)

Increasing the consumption of legumes could also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. (27)

It is very easy to incorporate more legumes into a cancer prevention diet. For example, you can add lentils, beans, or black-eyed peas to stews, soups, salads, or as side dishes.

You can also make a delicious cancer-fighting superfood by creating a chickpea hummus dip. Chickpeas are a type of legume that have anticancer potential due to many bioactive compounds in them. (28)

Garlic and Onions are Foods that Help Prevent Cancer

Garlic and onions are among some of the best cancer-fighting foods to include in your healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.

The reason why garlic and onions can help to stop cancer is due to the sulfur compounds in them. Researchers have found that garlic and onions have cancer preventive properties and can help reduce your risk of developing cancer. (29)

The results from several studies have also confirmed that onions and garlic are foods that help prevent cancer. (30)

You can also learn more about the many health benefits of taking raw garlic and garlic supplements to prevent chronic diseases.

Did you know that there are many ways you can use onions for their health benefits? There is even some scientific evidence that onion juice can help boost hair growth naturally.

Berries are Cancer Fighting Superfoods

Make sure that you consume plenty of berries regularly if you want to help decrease your risk of cancer.

Berries are a nutritious food to include in a cancer diet because they contain flavonoids and other antioxidants. Research has found that berries help reduce inflammation, protect cells from DNA damage, and can kill off malignant cells. Some studies have found that berry juices can also lower the risk of cancer. (31)

Extracts from berries such as blueberries and mulberries have been linked to the reduction of colon cancer and prostate cancer. (32)

Blueberries help prevent cancer

Including plenty of blueberries in an anti-cancer diet is a good idea because they are packed full of antioxidants. Blueberries have compounds that help prevent oxidative stress damage to DNA in cells and also help kill off cancerous cells. (33)

The results of many studies have shown that blueberries are an anti-cancer fruit with health-boosting properties.

Black raspberries on the cancer prevention diet

Although traditional red raspberries are good for helping to prevent cancer, black raspberries are even more potent.

Trials involving humans have shown that compounds in black raspberries have an anticancer effect in helping to prevent cancers of the esophagus, colon, and mouth. However, more research has to be done to see specific doses of using black raspberries in a cancer-killing diet. (34)

Grapes may reduce cancer risk

Another type of berry you can add to the foods that stop cancer is grapes.

Grapes are rich in antioxidants that have a number of health-promoting effects. For example, some studies have shown that increased grape consumption can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. (35)

Researchers have also found that there are a number of reasons why grapes are among the best cancer-fighting foods. They help to lower inflammation, stop the spread of malignant cells, and prevent oxidative stress damaging cells. (35)

Citrus Fruits in Your Anti-Cancer Diet Plan

Including citrus fruits a few times a week in your diet can have some cancer-fighting benefits.

A 2018 systematic review of 17 scientific studies found that consuming citrus fruits regularly can help to reduce the risk of oral cancer by up to 50%. (36)

Other studies have shown that increasing your intake of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines have cancer prevention potential. The cancer-fighting effect of citrus fruits was due to high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and quercetin. Researchers found that consuming more citrus fruits could lower your risk of breast cancer.  (37)

Consume lemon juice on your anti-cancer diet

The juice from a freshly squeezed lemon contains many cancer-fighting properties. Although the juice from most citrus fruits helps prevent cancer, studies have shown that lemon juice has a stronger effect. (59)

Find out more how starting your day with a glass of lemon juice could potentially reduce your risk of cancer.

Nuts and Seeds Can Help Prevent Cancer

Nuts and seeds are among some of the best cancer prevention foods that are good to include in your diet.

Nuts contain a good amount of healthy fatty acids, fiber, minerals, and protein. Consuming more nuts has been linked to some of the natural ways to prevent cancer.

A 2015 meta-analysis of studies involving over 30,000 people found that nut consumption is linked to cancer prevention. (38)

The reasons why nuts reduce your cancer risk is that they contain antioxidants and help regulate inflammation. Eating nuts regularly has been shown to help prevent colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. (38)

Some studies show that regular nut consumption helps reduce the prevalence of colon cancer in women. (39)

The results of other studies have shown that consuming nuts can benefit men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. (40)

If you want to add nuts to your list of anti-cancer foods, find out why you should soak nuts and seeds before using them.

Walnuts can help to lower prostate cancer risk

The Journal of Medicinal Food reported on trials involving mice showing that walnut consumption can help inhibit the growth of prostate cancer tumors. (41)

Did you know that walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat?

Almonds help prevent cancer

Including a serving of almonds daily is a good idea on an anticancer diet because they can help reduce oxidative stress in your body. One study showed that almond consumption significantly reduced the risk of breast cancer in women by up to 3 times. (42)

For more reasons to add almonds to your diet, please read this article.

Flaxseeds and the cancer diet

Flaxseeds are also among the good cancer-fighting foods as they are rich in fatty acids, fiber, and minerals. The journal Frontiers in Nutrition reported that taking flaxseeds can boost the effectiveness of traditional cancer treatment. Phytoestrogens in flaxseeds can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. (42)

Learn more about why flaxseeds are an important cancer healing food that also promote good well-being.

Pumpkin seeds have cancer-killing properties

You can also add a daily serving of pumpkin seeds to your diet to prevent cancer as they have been linked with the prevention of various cancers. Cancer diets rich in pumpkin seeds can help reduce the risk of breast, gastric, colorectal, and lung cancers. (43)

Find out more about the many reasons to consume a handful of pumpkin seeds every day if you want to boost your health.

Oily Fish and Cancer Prevention

It is good to regularly consume salmon, mackerel, tuna, or sardines in your cancer prevention diet because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.

One case-control study involving over 600 women found that consuming fatty fish is linked to a reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Women in the menopause also reduced their risk of breast cancer by taking omega-3 supplements. (44)

It is wise to include omega-3 supplements in your cancer prevention diet. Omega-3 capsules help to ensure a regular dose of omega-3 fatty acids that can help keep your heart healthy and reduce your cancer risk. (45)

Find out more about what science says regarding the health benefits of omega-3 fish oil.

Olive Oil is a Cancer Fighting Food

Extra virgin olive oil helps give your body a dose of antioxidants and lower inflammation that can help protect you against cancer.

A review of 19 case studies on the cancer-killing properties of olive oil found that it has a protective effect on the development of cancer. It was found that people who enjoyed a moderate intake of olive oil were at less of a risk of developing cancer. Olive oil consumption has been linked to preventing ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, oral cancer, and colorectal cancer. (46)

Some studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil helps to lower the risk of breast cancer. (47)

Learn more about the wonders that consuming olive oil can do for your overall health.

Spices in your Cancer Diet

Spices don’t just pack your meals full of flavor, they can also turn your meals into cancer-fighting foods.

The journal Nutrients reported that many spices contain bioactive compounds that reduce cancer risk. For example, black pepper, garlic, chili pepper, and saffron all help in cancer prevention. (48)

The reasons why many spices are useful in a diet to prevent cancer are that they reduce inflammation, increase immunity, and help prevent the growth of tumors. (48)

Turmeric spice on the anti-cancer diet

Compounds in turmeric can help prevent cancer as they have proven potential to kill off cancer cells.

Curcumin is the anticancer compound in turmeric that gives the spice its color and earthy flavor. Laboratory trials have shown that curcumin can destroy almost any type of cancer cell. Scientists have found that the mechanisms behind the cancer-killing properties of curcumin are many and complex. (49)

Learn more about the amazing health benefits of turmeric and why adding black pepper to the spice increases its effectiveness.

Cinnamon helps prevent cancer

You can add a teaspoon of cinnamon a day to your anti-cancer diet to help reduce your risk of the disease from developing.

Cinnamon spice is well-known for its health-boosting properties. Studies into the benefits of cinnamon for cancer prevention have revealed that it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and also anti-tumor properties. Researchers have even said that cinnamon has the potential to be used as a complementary medicine for diverse cancers. (50)

Other studies have found that cinnamon helps to prevent cancer from developing and also slow down the spread of cancer. (51)

Further reading: Science Based Benefits of Cinnamon (Tea, Powder).

Add ginger to your cancer diet plan

Ginger is another of the cancer killing spices that can help keep cancer at bay or prevent its spread.

Similar to turmeric, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help prevent cancer. One study found that extracts of ginger root can have a protective effect against human prostate cancer. (52)

Other studies have shown that ginger compounds have potential in treating and preventing the spread of breast cancer. (53)

To help boost the effectiveness of your cancer prevention diet, find out how to make a delicious healthy ginger and turmeric tea.

You may also be surprised to learn in this article that dried ginger is just as good for you as fresh ginger root.

Fermented Foods in Your Diet to Prevent Cancer

Some of the foods that help to prevent cancer are fermented dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir, and probiotic dairy drinks.

The International Journal of Cancer reported in 2018 that many studies show a positive effect of fermented dairy products on cancer prevention. A review of 61 studies found that consuming fermented dairy products significantly lowered the risk of cancer. Among the benefits were lower instances of bladder cancer and colorectal cancer. (54)

Some studies also show that dairy products with probiotic cultures can help to prevent colon cancer. (55)

There are also many health benefits to your digestion system by consuming kefir every day.

Green Tea Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer

Green tea and green tea extracts are among the best cancer-fighting superfoods that help to keep you healthy.

The journal Molecules and Cells reports that green tea contains catechins called epigallocatechin gallate (ECGG). Many studies have shown that ECGG helps to prevent the development of cancerous cells and also treat cancer. (56)

Scientists have also found that green tea compounds can help prevent cancer metastasis. (57)

If you want to find out about the best kind of green tea to drink for cancer prevention, read about the health benefits of matcha tea.

Seaweed is a Cancer Fighting Superfood

There is growing evidence that foods derived from seaweed can help to reduce your cancer risk or slow down the progression of cancer.

According to research published in the journal Marine Drugs, various types of seaweed contain anticancer compounds. Brown algae, green algae, and red algae have shown to possess properties that can help to stop cancer growth and kill off tumor cells. (58)

If you are interested in adding seaweed to your cancer prevention diet, learn about the benefits of sea kelp and how to use this seafood in your cooking.

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