It is estimated that nearly one third of all cancers in America are linked to bad diet and nutrition. For this reason, the American Cancer Society updated its guidelines in 2001 to place more emphasis on cancer prevention through nutrition and physical activity. Below is a list of foods and nutritional supplements which may help prevent cancer or aid those with cancer on their road back to health after cancer surgery, radiation therapy or chemo treatment. It is always best to discuss new dietary or supplement options with a health care advisor.
Best 11 Anti-Cancer Foods
1. Fresh Fruit
Eat at least 5 servings of fruits a day. Fruit contains vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene which studies show reduce the risk of cancers. Lycopene is found in tomatoes and when tomatoes are gently heated in olive oil they release more lycopene. If you are allergic to tomatoes, pink grapefruit or guava are good alternatives.
2. All Foods Rich in Carotenes
Apricots, papaya, asparagus, cantaloupe melons, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsley, pumpkin, mustard, red peppers, spinach, watercress, mangoes and French beans.
3. Garlic and Onions
Both are excellent cancer-fighting foods.
4. Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains powerful antioxidant polyphenols which are potentially more powerful than vitamin C and E in their cancer protective effects. It may also aid healing and cancer surgery recovery timelines.
Soya contains anti-cancer properties. Eat Soya in its natural form, or fermented form such as natto, miso or tempeh. Soya is best cooked. Avoid feeding infants and children with Soya.
Most anti-cancer diets recommend juicing as the pulps of fruit contain healthy phospholipids which are important for healthy tissues. Chop your favorite fruits and blend. Be sure to scrape out and drink the pulp with the juice.
Use dried or fresh rosemary in cooking. Rosemary helps to counteract HCAs (heterocyclic amines) which are the carcinogenic compounds created when food is barbecued or fried.
8. Fresh Mangos
This fruit is high in polyphenols which have been known to kill breast cancer and colon cancer cells in the lab.
fruit appears to have anti-cancer effects and benefits those with cancers of the breast, cervix, lung and liver. Papaya, like pineapple, contains bromelain which is an enzyme that helps dissolve the protective coating around cancer cells. Both papaya and pineapple are best eaten before a meal.
serving of cabbage a week can reduce the risk of colon cancer by nearly 50 percent. It is best eaten raw, for example in coleslaw.
11. Rhubarb and Strawberries
are good for fighting cancer but should be avoided by those with kidney stones.
See also: Alternative treatments for cancer - for natural therapies, as well as our list of books on cancer which includes dietary advice.
Foods To Avoid
All Non-Organic Meat.
Limit red meat to 3-4 oz twice a week.
Reduce all dairy in the diet including milk. Replace with organic rice or almond milk.
Avoid all processed pre-packed foods, take-outs and sugary snacks. Sugar in particular feeds cancer cells. If you do use pre-prepared food, do not heat in their plastic container. The plastic can seep into the food causing aggressive hormone-type cancers.
your intake of alcohol to one glass a day (women) or 2 glasses (men). If you drink wine, look for an organic version.
Replace regular table salt with sea salt.
Looking for an alternative treatment? See Cancer Clinical Studies.
Vitamins & Supplements
Take a high-potency multi-vitamin supplement - without iron. Excess iron has been linked to cancer cell growth. Some cancer specialists fear that vitamins and minerals can interfere with medical treatments. However numerous studies show that taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement can extend a cancer patients life by 2 years.
Selenium (also found in Brazil nuts) is especially good for those with skin cancer.
Those with cancer should take a vitamin D3 supplement (2000iu daily) as lack of this nutrient is linked to 17 different cancers.
Calcium and magnesium have been shown to reduce the side effects of chemo. Discuss this with your cancer specialist.
Essential fatty acids like omega-3 help block cancer cell division. Take at least one supplement a day.