Top 20 Foods to Eat if You Have Cancer

You are what you eat, according to the old adage, and truer words were never written. That’s because foods contain the building blocks of our cells, tissues and organs. If we are suffering from illness, we need to improve our nutritional intake, and cancer is no different.

Fortunately, nature provides a bounty of foods rich in anti-cancer compounds and proven cancer-fighting ability. Here are my top 20 anti-cancer picks (of course, choose only organic options as pesticides used in the growing of these food may thwart your best effort):

Apples

Not just a great snack and dessert, apples have been found to fight both lung and prostate cancer. According to a study published in Precision Oncology, researchers found that compounds in turmeric, apples and grapes combined had the power to starve and shrink prostate cancer tumors. That’s because apples contain the potent anti-cancer compound known as ursolic acid in their skins—so leave the peel on.

Beets

Beets are rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E, along with another powerful antioxidant known as alpha lipoic acid, all of which help to scavenge harmful free radicals before they can become cancerous. Research by Richard Passwater, PhD, in his book Lipoic Acid: The Metabolic Antioxidant found that the latter nutrient may prevent the activation of the gene that triggers cellular cancer growth.

Brazil Nuts

Rich in selenium, just a couple of Brazil nuts daily supply most people’s daily needs of this important cancer-fighting mineral. Addressing any potential selenium shortfalls is critical to cutting the risk of cancer and ensuring a strong immune system for those dealing with cancer. Low levels of selenium have been linked to an increased risk of some cancers like breast cancer.

Broccoli

Broccoli is an anti-cancer powerhouse. It contains vitamins A, B2, B6, C, K, folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium, all of which are needed to keep the immune system strong and healthy and to fight cancer. Broccoli contains sulfurophane and indoles, which also give it its potent anti-cancer properties.

Brussels Sprouts

According to a study published in Immunity, researchers found that eating plentiful amounts of brassica vegetables like Brussels sprouts have a significantly reduced risk of suffering from colon cancer.

Cabbage

Compounds formed during the metabolization of cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, have been found in the Immunity study to halt the formation of cancer tumors and prevent them from forming. According to the researchers, that’s because these vegetables trigger a substance in the body known as aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) that protects the intestines from both inflammation, which is often a precursor to cancer, and cancer.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains plentiful amounts of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and many other vitamins and minerals, making it essential to any cancer-fighting diet. And, similar to broccoli, cauliflower contains sulforaphane—a potent anti-cancer compound.

Dandelion Greens

While not unusual in traditional Italian diets, few people in North America eat dandelion greens. But, for those fighting cancer you might want to reconsider in light of the research published in Nature Chemistry which found that dandelion greens offer hope in the treatment of this dreaded illness. The researchers identified a substance called JPC11 which appears to interfere with cancer cells’ ability to divide rapidly—a process necessary to the survival of cancer in the body.

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil:

Omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseeds, flax oil, raw walnuts and chia seeds, reduce prostaglandins and inflammation, reducing the breast cancer risk.

Ginger

Ginger has significant anti-cancer and tumor-destroying properties. According to researchers, ginger’s anti-cancer potency is due to its natural compounds—gingerol, paradol, shogaol and zerumbone. Research in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that ginger may help treat breast, colorectal, gastric, liver, prostate and skin cancers.

Green Tea

Green tea contains cancer-fighting substances called epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC), which are potent free radical scavengers. By destroying free radicals before they can become cancerous, they help to protect cells from being vulnerable to the disease.  A study published in the journal Experimental Cell Research found that EGCG inhibited cancer cell metabolism in breast tumors. It also helps to protect the skin against UV damage, a factor in skin cancer, according to research in Pharmaceutical Development and Technology.

Kale

Like other brassicas, kale is a potent anti-cancer food. It is high in vitamins C, A and K, as well as manganese, copper and vitamin B6 content, all of which help boost the immune system to fight the dreaded disease.

Olives and Olive Oil

According to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Biology, oleic acid found in olives and olive oil may help to prevent or treat brain cancer. The study was preliminary so more research needs to be done before we can make definitive statements in this regard but the oil has demonstrated so many health benefits it is worth including in this list.

Oregano

While oregano has barely been considered as a possible anti-cancer food, a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that 4-terpineol found in oregano is effective against the spread of cancer.

Parsley

You might want to eat more tabbouleh salad, a parsley-based Middle Eastern favorite, once you learn about its impressive anti-cancer properties. According to a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, parsley destroys free radicals, protects DNA from damage that can lead to cancer, and inhibits both the proliferation and migration of cancer cells in the body.

Salad Greens

The leafy greens used in salads are good for almost everything in your body, including fighting cancer. They are nutrient powerhouses so it is a good idea to include leafy greens like spinach, beet greens, collards and lettuce in your daily diet. Some of their impressive anti-cancer nutrients include: alpha-carotene, alpha lipoic acid, beta-carotene, lutein, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Sauerkraut

Few people consider sauerkraut as part of their cancer-fighting arsenal, but they should. That’s because, not only is sauerkraut made from cabbage, one of the best anti-cancer foods, a study published in the journal Nature Communications found that probiotics, like those found in sauerkraut can help prevent cancer and may provide help in the treatment of cancer as well. Choose only fermented, unpasteurized varieties with live cultures.

Strawberries

Not only are they delicious, research in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology shows that a compound called fisetin in strawberries helps to fight melanoma. Melanoma is a type of invasive skin cancer that develops in the pigment that gives skin its color, but can spread throughout the body. Another study in the journal Carcinogenesis found that the compound fisetin killed prostate cancer cells.

Turmeric

Curcumin, one of the key phytonutrients found in the vibrant yellow spice turmeric, has been found in numerous studies to reduce colon cancer risk. A study found in Cancer Prevention Research showed that curcumin suppresses the ability of colon cancer cells to proliferate, suggesting it is helpful both in the prevention and treatment of the condition.

Walnuts

Adding even one ounce of raw, unsalted walnuts to your daily diet significantly cuts your colon cancer risk. Not only are the nuts anti-inflammatory, they seem to act like probiotics in the intestines to ensure a healthy gut, which in turn protects against cancer.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Cancer-Proof: All Natural Solutions for Cancer Prevention and HealingFollow her work.

101 comments

Irene M
Irene M6 days ago

Good information. Thank you for sharing.

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Shae L
Shae L15 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Thomas M
Thomas M15 days ago

thank you

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Shirley S
Shirley S18 days ago

Love them all. T Y

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michela c
michela c18 days ago

Thanks

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Amanda M
Amanda McConnell18 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda McConnell18 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Donna T
Donna T19 days ago

thank you

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson19 days ago

ty

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Janis K
Janis K19 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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