Last month, the idea that cancer is a victim’s disease and that people are powerless to prevent it received yet another blow.
A World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) analysis of 99 studies and nearly 30 million people with colorectal cancer gives clear evidence that deep nutrition is a major weapon in the human arsenal against cancer.
It’s just the latest in a long line of scientific studies that prove that people who want to reduce their cancer risk can do so by eating nutrient-dense foods.
Ready to pack your fridge, pantry, and garden with cancer-fighting foods?
The foods on this list are a great place to start:
Whole Grains: According to the WCRF/AICR report, whole grains contain a veritable cornucopia of anticancer properties—from dietary fiber that can, among other things, help prevent insulin resistance, to a variety of compounds such as selenium, lignans, and vitamin E that “have plausible anti-carcinogenic properties.”1
Green Foods: Chlorophyll-rich foods like wheatgrass, spirulina, and arugula help purify the blood and detoxify the system. There is also evidence that chlorophyll may block the carcinogenic effects of certain cancer-causing chemicals.2
Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain glucosinolates, which the body breaks down into indoles and isothiocyanates, known cancer-fighting compounds.3
Nuts and Seeds: Powerhouses of micronutrients, nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats that improve the bioavailability of cancer-fighting nutrients in other foods. In fact, if you pair them with green vegetables, you’ll absorb 10 times more anticarcinogens than you would if you ate your veggies alone.4 In addition, flaxseeds and sesame seeds contain cancer-fighting lignans, and black sesame seeds are filled with antioxidants.
Garlic: If you’ve read the TGN e-book Garlic: Your First Home Medicine, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that garlic is believed to have anticancer effects, especially on cancers that affect the digestive system.5
Onions: According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, best-selling author of Eat to Live, consuming lots of onions can cut a person’s risk of getting major cancers—including breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian—by 50 to 70 percent.6
Mushrooms: No need to spring for the fancy mushrooms to benefit from the anticancer properties of these fungi. Even the less expensive, more widely available white, cremini, and portobello mushrooms can reduce inflammation, slow the growth of cancer cells, reduce the risk of breast cancer by blocking the production of estrogen—and the list goes on and on!7
Berries: Blackberries and blueberries have powerful antioxidant properties. Among other life-giving benefits, they help prevent DNA damage and hinder blood supply to growing cancer cells.8
Tomatoes: These lycopene-rich fruits also contain the carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein, plus vitamin E, vitamin C, and potassium. Eat them with healthy fats to increase your body’s ability to absorb tomatoes’ cancer-fighting phytochemicals by two to 15 times.9
Olives and Genuine Olive Oil: Olives contain an abundance of antioxidants, including squalene and terpenoids.10 Olive oil has similar cancer-fighting properties, but if it’s imported, make sure it’s genuine. Several studies within the last few years have shown that a large number of imported “olive oils” are fake or adulterated in some way.11
Seaweed: With its incredible mix of micronutrients, seaweed is full of the deep nutrition that keeps a body healthy and fuels its fight against cancer. In Chinese medicine, it has long been used to soften hardened tumors.12
Turmeric: Chemical compounds in turmeric, known as curcuminoids, are anti-inflammatory and neutralize the free radicals that can cause DNA damage.13
Green Tea: Filled with antioxidants, green tea has powerful anticancer properties. It’s been shown to prevent several types of cancer in animal studies, as well as to considerably slow the growth of cancer cells.14
Black Pepper: Piperine, a compound found in black pepper, fights cancer at the cellular level and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well. In addition to its standalone cancer-fighting properties, it also seems to improve the bioavailability of the anticancer compounds in substances like turmeric and green tea.15
Mistletoe: Studies indicate that mistletoe extracts may trigger a cancer-fighting response in the immune system, in addition to improving symptoms and reducing side effects in cancer patients.16
Magnolia Bark Extract: Magnolia bark extract contains compounds that have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties in animal studies and in the lab. While it has not been evaluated through clinical trials, this herb is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.17
Rosemary: This fragrant herb helps prevent DNA damage and keeps cancer cells from proliferating.18
Chili Peppers: Capsaicin, the same compound that makes chili peppers hot, has been shown to significantly slow the growth of prostate cancer tumors in mice. In fact, it caused 4 out of 5 cancer cells to self-destruct in a process called apoptosis.19
Pomegranate: Juice from pomegranate seed pulp has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Laboratory studies have shown it to prevent the growth of cancer cells, and results of a human study suggested it has both preventative and therapeutic effects against cancer.20
Beans, Peas, and Lentils: These nutrient-dense carbohydrates offer a plethora of health benefits, from stabilizing blood sugar to lowering cholesterol. Filled with fiber and resistant starch, intestinal bacteria ferment them into cancer-fighting fatty acids.21
You’ve probably noticed that almost all of the foods on this list would be considered a normal part of a nutritious diet.
In fact, the best diet you can eat to reduce your risk of cancer is the one you’re probably already trying for: rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats and proteins.
As you combine a deeply nutritious diet with other cancer fighters like exercise and low levels of stress and environmental toxicity, you’ll be taking your health into your own hands—and that’s exactly where it belongs.
A few comments from Alexi: "All foods must be organic (well most). Go to www.ewg.org for a list of the most and least sprayed fruits and vegetables to decide which you can buy conventionally grown, and which must be organic. Mushrooms are beneficial if only the medicinal ones as Shiitake, Chaga, Reishi and Lions Tail to name a few. Forget the button or portobellos. Quinoa, lentils, beans, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flax seeds are the top glyphosate sprayed foods: must be organic.With any foods containing iron as quinoa, or any of the greens, you must add lemon juice for absorption of the haem-iron found in those foods. Nuts, seeds, grains, beans, and lentils need to be soaked(drain and rinse) to remove phytic acid that interferes with digestion of those foods. Garlic, make sure it is not from China. Green tea must be organic. Matcha is preferable and all green teas contain lead (even the organic, but less lead) Most store-bought olive oils are adulterated, make sure you know your source.(source a friend whose relatives have olive oil orchards in Europe. For maximum absorption, add a little piperine to your Tumeric (if you take tumeric in supplement form, the same applies for maximum absorption."