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27 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

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27 Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote good health and to help protect against cancer is with your diet. The American Cancer society estimates that one third of all American cancer deaths might be diet-related. The conclusion is really pretty simple: kick cancer-loving food to the curb; embrace healthful food. The foods on this list, prepared by the Cancer Cure Foundation, have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size. The list is not complete–there are other anti-cancer edibles–but this features the all-stars and is an excellent starting point. (Click through to the last page for a printable quick-list.)

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety. Broccoli, especially sprouts, also have the phytochemical sulforaphane, a product of glucoraphanin–believed to aid in preventing some types of cancer, like colon and rectal cancer. Sulforaphane induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens. The enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors in tests. However, be aware that the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found a 30-fold difference in the amounts of glucoraphanin. It appears that the more bitter the broccoli is, the more glucoraphanin it has. Broccoli sprouts have been developed under the trade name BroccoSprouts that have a consistent level of sulforaphane–as much as 20 times higher than the levels found in mature heads of broccoli.

Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities–2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer. In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explained that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol. This substance is a polyacethylen, however, so it is important not to cook the carrots.

Kale has indoles, nitrogen compounds which may help stop the conversion of certain lesions to cancerous cells in estrogen-sensitive tissues. In addition, isothiocyanates, phytochemicals found in kale, are thought to suppress tumor growth and block cancer-causing substances from reaching their targets.

Mushrooms: Shiitake, maitake, reishi, Agaricus blazei Murill, and Coriolus Versicolor appear to help the body fight cancer and build the immune system. These mushrooms contain polysaccharides, especially Lentinan, powerful compounds that help in building immunity. They are a source of Beta Glucan. They also have a protein called lectin, which attacks cancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying. They also contain Thioproline. These mushrooms can stimulate the production of interferon in the body.

Seaweed and other sea vegetables contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin B12, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as chlorophylones–important fatty acids that may help in the fight against breast cancer. Many sea vegetables also have high concentrations of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine.

Sweet potatoes contain many anticancer properties, including beta-carotene, which may protect DNA in the cell nucleus from cancer-causing chemicals outside the nuclear membrane.

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Read more: Cancer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Health, Natural Remedies, , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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2:04AM PDT on Jun 16, 2015

I guess you could say I’m a poster child for having an annual mammogram. In December, 2008, a radiation oncologist noticed some suspicious spots on my mammogram. The spots were small and deep within the tissue; there was no lump that could be felt by hand. My doctor told me that the cells, classified as ductal carcinoma, had probably been developing for several years.

The recommended treatment was surgery. I had an MRI at the same facility where I’d had the mammogram and scheduled the surgery. Then I got to talking with some friends. By coincidence, one of my friend that had the same problem told me about how he cure his prostate cancer with cannabis oil he order from:, i was so scared of surgery i had to try the cannabis oil after i had done so many research on cannabis and hemp oil, we order the cannabis oil from:, after weeks of treatment i went to the doctor and he said that the cell has stop developing. i am perfectly ok after taking the medication for the complete treatment plan.

4:45PM PDT on May 26, 2015

Good list. Thank you for your post Melissa.

10:41AM PST on Feb 20, 2015


6:32AM PST on Jan 15, 2015


12:44AM PST on Dec 18, 2014


5:02PM PDT on Aug 15, 2014


1:06PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Yummy, yummy. Also– eliminate meat and dairy, it will do wonders for your health and for the planet!! You will also save 31 animals per year from slaughter, all by yourself. :)) Go vegan. For your health, for the animals, and for the planet!!!! You won't regret it.

7:32PM PDT on May 21, 2014

Most of the food listed here is pretty tasty so they should be easy to incorporate into daily eating habits

5:10AM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Thank you for sharing

5:08AM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Match them with appropriate exercising

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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It is just as sad for the adults as kids, I couldn't stay in there while the vet had to put 3 of mi…

Thanks Lisa.

This is amazing and totally "news to me". I am totally going to see if we can get it in our local In…

I try to avoid the "bad" carbs and eat a wide range of healthy foods.


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