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20 Cancer-Fighting Foods

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens contain carotenoids, which are a type of antioxidant. They also contain other antioxidants such as vitamin C.According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin C have proven effective in preventing cancer cell formation. Leafy greens in particular have been studied as probably effective for: colorectal cancer, estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer.


An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well this is likely true when it comes to cancer. According to the AICR, this is because of the fiber and polyphenol compounds in the fruit.Dietary fiber and polyphenol compounds help create a healthy gut microbiome that can help protect your body against cancer. They are also probably effective against all aerodigestive cancers, like colorectal, lung, and stomach cancers.


Just like leafy greens, you can also find lots of good carotenoids in different types of squash. Whether it’s spaghetti squash, pumpkin, or zucchini, they have the right antioxidants to help your body fight cancer.AICR says that squash is probably effective in fighting against ER- breast cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer. Yet another yummy reason to eat squash!

Whole Grains

We have all heard that we should be eating whole grains over refined grains, but why is that? Well, the AICR says that whole grains can help prevent certain cancers.This is mostly due to the amount of dietary fiber in whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, and farro. Whole grains’ effectiveness is probable against colorectal cancer.


Oranges and grapefruit are two citrus fruits that have proven to have probable effectiveness against certain cancers. The AICR says oranges contain phytochemicals that can help prevent aerodigestive and bladder cancers.Grapefruit is also great for fighting aerodigestive and bladder cancers as well as ER- breast cancer because of its phytochemicals as well as its low-calorie portion. Antioxidants and a low BMI are both associated with a lesser chance of developing cancer.


An uncharged, highly reactive molecule called a free radical is linked to cancer formation because they have the ability to change the formation of cells’ DNA. Antioxidants are good fighters against free radicals.Antioxidants such as the vitamin C found in melons, especially in watermelon, could be useful in fighting cancer-causing free radicals before they have a chance to do any damage to your cells in any part of your body.


Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries are all cancer-fighting foods according to the AICR. Raspberries contain a cancer-fighting phytonutrient called ellagitannin, and strawberries also contain ellagitannin as well as antioxidant-boosting properties.

Blueberries increase antioxidant activity in the blood, and cranberries have a polyphenol proanthocyanidin, which is very effective against cancer cells. All of these berries also are high in fiber and help create a healthy gut microbiome, which helps prevent all cancers.



While studies are currently limited about the relationship between garlic and cancer prevention, according to the AICR, there is a possible link between the allium compounds in garlic and cancer prevention.Garlic has also been known to be a helpful aid for the immune system, which also needs to be functioning properly in a cancer-preventing lifestyle.


Asparagus has a good amount of the nutrient folate, which many people with the possibility to become pregnant might recognize as something they need to be taking every day to prevent birth defects, but it is also effective at fighting against cancer.However, according to the AICR, the research is limited on asparagus’s ability to fight and prevent cancer, and its main cancer-fighting benefit is that it is part of the non-starchy vegetable family, which has been shown to be possibly effective against aerodigestive cancers.


Eggs are one of those foods where one minute someone says they are the worst thing you could possibly eat, then the next minute someone else says they are the best thing you could possibly eat.

Scientifically, eggs contain a ton of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein. Eggs contain some nutrients that could be linked to cancer-fighting properties, but mainly, eggs are just really good to eat - even while you have cancer, especially if you need a quick pick-me-up full of good nutrients but don’t feel like eating a lot.



Beans, peas, and lentils are all probably effective against cancer, according to the AICR, because of their high dietary fiber that helps prevent colorectal cancer, as well as obesity, which can lead to an increased risk of all other cancers.

Even your daily coffee beans can help protect you against cancer. The AICR says that the research shows coffee as an effective preventative of endometrial and liver cancers. It doesn’t matter if it is regular or decaf!



Seeds are great sources of nutrients, healthy fats, and fiber. Although more research is needed, the AICR says that flaxseed has shown some potential in fighting hormone-related cancers.Since it is also full of fiber, it has those great benefits of fighting against obesity and colorectal cancer as well. Just make sure that you grind your seeds before eating them so you can actually digest and absorb those good nutrients, otherwise they will slip right on through!


The AICR says that early research showed a possible connection between eating tomatoes and the reduced risk of prostate cancer, but the evidence has weakened over time.However, they also say that because tomatoes have so many valuable nutrients and that different ways of cooking and pairing the fruit release different nutrients, it is possible that there are several benefits related to cancer and eating tomatoes.


The important nutrients in teas like green tea when it comes to fighting cancer are the antioxidant flavonoids that are found in these plant-based drinks.However, the AICR says it isn’t the tea that’s the end-all be-all of cancer prevention, but rather the lifestyle and genetic factors that go along with the tea drinker’s life. Even still, it has been said that green tea can be effective in fighting against breast cancer.


Cherries are full of antioxidants and good nutrients like melatonin. While melatonin helps you sleep at night, and can be helpful in preventing cancer, the AICR says that more research needs to be done to see if cherries are a good enough source of melatonin for it to be deemed effective at preventing cancer.

However, cherries are a great source of fiber and have many other beneficial factors such as helping reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, which could be beneficial in a cancer-preventing lifestyle.


Red Grapes

If you ever heard that red wine helps prevent cancer and heart disease, that would be because of the nutrient resveratrol found in red grapes. However, there is only a small amount in red wine, and alcohol does much more damage to the body than resveratrol could cover, so drinking wine often is not recommended in a cancer-preventing lifestyle.

Nevertheless, the AICR says that certain proanthocyanidin compounds in the grapes’ skins and seeds could possibly be effective in helping prevent cancer. Also, the fact that grapes are a good low-calorie and high-fiber option gives the obvious benefit of helping prevent colon cancer and obesity when added to a healthy lifestyle.

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Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are the vegetables known for smelling stinky, like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. However, they are also known for being very good for you.

It is well-studied that these types of vegetables can help reduce overall cancer risk, according to the AICR. Cauliflower and brussels sprouts in particular have gained special attention. It shouldn’t be difficult to sneak cauliflower into your diet nowadays with all of the cauliflower rices and crusts and everything else!



Soy is a controversial food when it comes to cancer prevention. Some studies have shown that soy has increased the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis, while others show that it prevents cancer.

The AICR says that it likely comes down to the types of soy products that the person consumes, as well as their genetics, lifestyle, and microbiome. Eating a ton of processed soy foods is just as bad for you as eating any other processed food, so choose whole soy foods like edamame over soy milk in your cancer-preventing lifestyle.



According to Cancer Research UK, turmeric is a possible alternative to cancer treatment, but it is not widely studied at the moment. and shouldn’t take the place of medical treatments like chemo.

However, turmeric has several benefits, when added to your diet, even outside of preventing cancer due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient curcumin is what makes turmeric so special, but in order to absorb it properly, remember to pair it with cracked black pepper.



Nuts are a good source of healthy fats and fiber, when consumed in moderation. Walnuts especially have beneficial properties when it comes to being added to a cancer-preventing lifestyle.

Although research is currently limited, the AICR says that walnuts contain ellagitannins, melatonin, and gamma-tocopherol, which can help the body reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. They could also help prevent the expression of certain genes related to cancer.