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10 Best Cancer Fighting Foods That Should be Included in Your Diet

Updated on April 12, 2018
Olivia Philips profile image

Olivia is a nutritionist and diet, fitness, and weight-loss consultant based in Texas. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Food and Nutrition.


Cancer is said to be one of the most dreaded diseases around the world. It accounted for more than 8.8 million deaths in 2015, globally. Cancer is a systemic disease characterized by abnormal and uncontrollable cell growth beyond its usual boundaries, also known as malignant tumor and neoplasm. Tumors can grow and invade other adjoining organs of the body and can alter the normal functions by releasing harmful hormones.

  • There is said to be more than 200 types of cancer.

  • There are three categories of general agents that can cause cancer: Physical carcinogens, biological carcinogens, and chemical carcinogens.

  • Carcinogens are the substances responsible for damaging the DNA which leads to support cancer. Arsenic, tobacco, asbestos, ultraviolet radiations, ionizing radiations, and infections from certain viruses are some of the examples of carcinogens.

  • Aging is also considered to be a factor for the development of cancer. Cancer can also be inherited from family members. It is certainly possible to be born with faults in genes that make some person more likely to have cancer in the future.

  • Several viruses such as hepatitis B and C (causes of liver cancer), and Epstein-Barr virus, human papillomavirus (a cause of cervical cancer) and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are also considered to be associated with cancer-causing factors.

  • Physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are also some risk factors that can contribute to causing cancer.

There are numerous articles written and published that can make you think that you can cure and prevent this nasty disease from spreading only by choosing better foods. There is no certainty in this statement.

There are foods that help fight cancer or can possibly be incorporated into the diet of the cancer patients. But the fact is these can only reduce the risk of getting cancer, and not prevent or cure it completely.


Read on to learn about some of the cancer-fighting foods or anti-cancer foods that can reduce the risk of cancer.

  1. Ginger and Turmeric: These two are considered to be the best cancer-fighting foods among all. Turmeric and ginger belong to the same root family, both have anti-inflammatory agents and also an active ingredient called Curcumin. This helps throughout the body, specifically colon, reducing the rates of cancer spreading in the body. Ginger and turmeric enhance the flavor of the meals and have a myriad of health benefits. Add grated ginger in your morning tea or use it in the meals. Turmeric can be used in all curry based foods.
  2. Garlic: Garlic contains many active ingredients like Allicin that seem to act against the spreading of cancer. It contains selenium, tryptophan and sulfur-based active agents that attack cancer cells and boost the immune system and stimulate natural defense against cancer. Garlic also consists of anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for numerous health problems. According to many published reports, people who eat raw or even cooked garlic regularly with the meals have fewer risks of stomach cancer. Add a few cloves of freshly crushed garlic in foods while cooking.
  3. Cruciferous vegetables: All cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale have a chemical compound called indole-3-carbinol along with its metabolite DIM, helps to fight breast, prostate, brain and colorectal cancer by converting cancer-inducing agents like estrogen into a shielding type. These vegetables are rich in anti-cancer properties such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane, and the element selenium. These also contain fiber rich in galactose which helps to remove toxins from the body. Include plenty of these vegetables in your cancer-fighting diet routine and keep in mind not to overcook these veggies to lose any of the beneficial properties.
  4. Beans and Lentils: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans contain many phytochemical can have adverse effects to slow and prevent the damage to the DNA, as per the laboratory results. These are also a rich source of fiber which improves the health of digestive system. They also tend to reduce blood glucose in the body. Beans and lentils should be incorporated into your diet. A half cup of these legumes a few times a week to get the maximum health benefits.
  5. Green Tea: A drink to abide by, Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is most helpful in reducing the risks of getting cancer, according to the researchers. It is made from the dried leaves of an Asian plant called Camellia Sinensis. Black tea also made from the same plant but by fermented leaves of the plant. In the process of fermentation, it loses the healthy catechins. Apart from this green tea have many other health benefits which can contribute to overall well being of the person.
  6. Berries: All the berries are rich in many vitamins, minerals, ellagic acid and antioxidants called anthocyanins that prevent cancer cell growth, protect your body from heart-related diseases, prevent memory loss and help you burn the extra kilos from your body. Berries also protect the lungs against environmental toxins. Berries are also a great source of fiber which is important for the healthy digestive system. There are a variety of berries available around the world, full of different flavors. Include half a cup of berries in your diet or make amazing and refreshing smoothies with these.
  7. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: These green leafy vegetables contain best of the powerful antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin that can impede the early development of cancerous tumors. They also contain other compounds known as indoles that can decrease the cancer-causing potential of estrogen and stimulate the production of enzymes that defend against the fatal disease. The leafy vegetables also help your DNA to replicate properly and guard it during radiotherapy and other cancer-related treatments. Add some raw vegetables to your salads and get the benefits to improve your health.
  8. Tomatoes: This tangy fruit is the best source of lycopene, an antioxidant that roaming oxygen molecule also known as free radicals. These are responsible for promoting cancer. Tomatoes are also rich in Vitamin C which can prevent cellular damage. Plentiful intake of lycopene is associated with reduced risks breast, pancreas and prostate cancer. Lycopene also helps decrease the bad fat levels in the bloodstream and is considered to be a potent antioxidant.
  9. Mushrooms: There are many varieties of mushrooms that are considered to be helpful for the body to fight against cancer and boost the immune system. These mushrooms contain potent components such as polysaccharides, especially Lentinan that improves the immunity of the body. Mushrooms are rich in phytochemical and lectin which attacks tumorous cells and prevent them from multiplying any further.
  10. Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and seeds contain good oils, Vitamin E and high on natural fiber. Nuts contain quercetin and kaempferol, an antioxidant that can prevent the growth of cancer. Brazilian Nut contains selenium which is important for the people suffering from prostate cancer. Flax seeds are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignan which is an antioxidant that helps to fight cancer. It can also reduce the risks of heart diseases and diabetes. Eating a few nuts a day can provide all the nutrients good for the body. Also add some flax seeds to oat meals or smoothies.


© 2018 Olivia Philips


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