No single food or supplement can protect against cancer on its own. But there is strong evidence that eating a plant-based diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancer.
There are many foods that contain cancer-fighting properties - most of them fruits and vegetables. Learn more about these foods and the research: American Institute for Cancer Research.
Our favorite five anti-cancer foods
Berries and cherries
: The phytochemicals that give berries and cherries their dark red, blue and purple colors also have powerful anti-cancer properties. Eat them on their own, in smoothies, layered with yogurt and low-sugar granola for a breakfast parfait, or added to a tossed salad (fresh, dried or frozen).
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts and turnips: Their many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals help your immune system destroy cancer cells, turn on genes that suppress cancer, and reduce inflammation, which is a risk factor for cancer.Try them in stir-fry, roasted with garlic or as broccoli slaw tossed in a salad.
Red and purple grapes – but not red wine: Red and purple grape skins contain powerful anti-cancer properties from the compound resveratrol. Red wine also contains resveratrol. However, there is convincing evidence that alcohol is associated with increased risk of breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, esophagus, and colon and rectum.
Greens: Dark leafy greens – spinach, kale, romaine and leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard – have loads of antioxidants that help prevent cancer by hunting down potentially dangerous “free radicals” from the body before they can do harm (like cause cancer). Try them in salads as baby greens, added to hearty soups, or sauteed with garlic in olive oil.
: The fiber from whole grains dilutes potential cancer-causing chemicals and encourages “good bacteria” in your digestive system. Fiber also helps you keep your weight down – extra body fat increases your risk of eight cancers, including breast cancer. Substitute brown rice for white rice, and whole grain bread, whole wheat or brown rice pasta instead of the white-flour kind.
Learn more: American Institute for Cancer Research