Eating Green to Prevent Cancer

Why do people who eat more plants get less cancer? The largest prospective study of diet and cancer in history, for example, found that vegetarians had lower levels of all cancers combined. This could be due to what they eat less of:

There are also components of plant foods they are getting more of that can help eliminate excess estrogen; extinguish free radicals; and boost our antioxidant, detoxification, and DNA repair enzymes. What we do eat may be as important as what we don’t eat.

The healthiest food is dark green leafy vegetables, which we should ideally eat every day. Greens can improve our eyesight, immune function, athletic performance, and even our physical appearance. The green pigment itself—chlorophyll—may even intercept carcinogens. See my video pick above.

For more on protective compounds in plants, check out my video Phytochemicals: The Nutrition Facts Missing From the Label. Green pigments are just one sliver of the rainbow though. There are benefits to the yellow onesorange onesred ones, and blue ones. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book!

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: Anderson Mancini / Flickr

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W. C
W. C19 days ago


Wendi M.
Wendi M5 months ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
natasha s3 years ago

All these are fabulous. Thanks very much for the important info.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred H4 years ago

Thank you Dr, Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred H4 years ago

Thank you Dr. Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

Mac C.
mac C4 years ago

Well, now as I eat my spinach and kale everyday I will be imagining them grabbing my carcinogens and booting them out. Thanks for the great article.

Claire M.
Claire M4 years ago

Let medicine be your food and food be your medicine. Thanks for the article!

Pat L.
Patricia L4 years ago

Just as I get a hankering for green olives, I must have greens every day. I'll have huge salads with mixed greens, romaine, baby spinach, fresh green cabbage, sprouts and anything fresh I have that will add to the salad. Other days I'll saute dandelion greens when they are in season, add a little olive oil and lemon juice. Another addiction for me is collard greens and red or green swiss chard. With all my greens that require cooking, I use the saute method rather than boiling. Greens of any kind along with an organic jewel yam baked to sticky sweet perfection--that's heaven to me.