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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John W
John W9 months ago

Good to know

W. C
W. C11 months ago


Wendi M.
Wendi Mabout a year ago


Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

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

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Dr, Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Dr. Michael Greger, for Sharing this!

Mac C.
mac C5 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 M5 years ago

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