36 foods that may help lower your cancer risk “Cancer-fighting foods”
There are many different causes for cancer,” says Lindsey Wohlford, wellness dietitian. “Research tells us that making healthy food choices consistently over time can reduce your risk of getting cancer, but you can’t say with absolute certainty that food can prevent cancer. There are no guarantees.” Wohlford’s advice for reducing cancer risk through food:
- Focus on plants (veggies, whole grains, nuts, fruit and plant-based protein)
- Make choices that will help you manage your weight.
- Avoid foods that are known to increase cancer risk.
- When you see a list of “cancer-fighting foods”, they are often plant foods loaded with phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that can help prevent chronic diseases like cancer.
- The list is usually topped with berries, broccoli, tomatoes, walnuts, grapes and other vegetables, fruits and nuts.
- “If you look at the typical foods that reduce cancer risk, it’s pretty much all plant foods that contain phytochemicals,” says Wohlford.
- But she cautions shoppers not to focus on a specific list of “cancer-fighting” foods to the exclusion of other healthy foods in the produce section.
- “Keep in mind that there are more than 4,000 phytochemicals that have been discovered and researched,” she says. “There’s not any one super-food that contains all of them. They all offer different functions and benefits.”
- A good way to add variety to your cancer-fighting food list is to make sure you include a variety of colors. You can get the most protection by eating a wide variety of plant foods.
Here are a couple of guides to help pick and choose different foods that will help your body fight cancer.
Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention
Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassica genus of plants. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fiber source. During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates (1). Indole-3-carbinol (an indole) and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) have been most frequently examined for their anticancer effects.
What this means, is chewing your vegetables well, actually helps to coat your cells which help to fight off cancer cells from invading healthy cells. So while taking supplements helps, nothing is better than to actually have your child eat their vegetables and chew their food well. The better they chew the food the more enzymes it creates to coat their healthy cells.
We realize that most children don’t like to eat these specific foods, but if you can find ways to incorporate these vegetables below into your child’s diet you are doing a world of good for their overall health and cancer prevention. They include the following vegetables, among others:
Turmeric reduces inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases, including cancer. Animal and lab studies show that turmeric can help prevent cancer growth and kill certain cancer cells. There are many products out today that promote Turmeric, please read their labels before purchasing.
- Turmeric is an herb that may have cancer-fighting properties.
- Turmeric has been shown to help with side effects of cancer treatment.
- Patients should check with their doctor before consuming turmeric since it can interfere with some kinds of chemotherapy.
When shopping at the store, here is a more detailed list of foods that will help your child’s body fight cancer
MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Danielle Underferth. “36 Foods That May Help Lower Your Cancer Risk.” MD Anderson Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1 June 2022, www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/36-foods-that-can-help-lower-your-cancer-risk.h12-1592991.html.
“Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention.” National Cancer Institute, National Cancer Institute, 7 June 2012, www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet.