No single food can reduce your risk of
cancer, but the right combination of foods may help make a difference. At
mealtimes, strike a balance of at least 2/3 plant-based foods and no more than
1/3 animal protein. This "New American Plate" is an important cancer
fighting tool, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Check
out better and worse choices for your plate.
Cancer With Color
and vegetables are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients - and the more color, the
more nutrients they contain. These foods can help lower your risk in a second
way, too, when they help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Carrying
extra pounds increases the risk for multiple cancers, including colon,
esophagus, and kidney cancers. Aim for five to nine servings a day, prepared
in a healthy way.
an important B vitamin that may help protect against cancers of the colon,
rectum, and breast. You can find it in abundance on the breakfast table.
Fortified breakfast cereals and whole wheat products are good sources of folate. So
are orange juice, melons, and strawberries.
Folate the rest of the day.
good sources of folate are
asparagus and eggs. You can also find it in chicken liver, beans, sunflower
seeds, and leafy green vegetables like spinach or romaine lettuce. According to
the ACS, the best way to get folate is not from a pill, but by eating enough
fruits, vegetables, and enriched grain products.
it's the lycopene --
the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color -- or something else isn't
clear. But some studies have linked eating tomatoes to reduced risk of several
types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Studies also suggest that processed
tomato products such as juice, sauce, or paste increase the cancer-fighting
Tea especially green tea, may be a strong
cancer fighter. In laboratory studies, green tea has slowed or prevented the
development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. It also had
a similar effect in lung tissue and skin. And in some longer term studies, tea
was associated with lower risks for bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancers.
and grape juice, especially purple and red grapes, contain resveratrol. Resveratrol has
strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In laboratory studies, it
has prevented the kind of damage that can trigger the cancer process in cells.
There is not enough evidence to say that eating grapes or drinking grape juice
or wine can prevent or treat cancer.
not only quenches your thirst, but it may protect you against bladder cancer.
The lower risk comes from water diluting concentrations of potential
cancer-causing agents in the bladder. Also, drinking more fluids causes you to
urinate more frequently. That lessens the amount of time those agents stay in
contact with the bladder lining.
are so good for you, it's no surprise they may help fight cancer, too.
They contain several potent phytochemicals that
may protect the body's cells against damage that can lead to cancer. In the lab
these substances slowed tumor growth and prevented tumors from releasing
substances that damage nearby cells.
vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and
kale. These members of the cabbage family make an excellent stir fry and can
really liven up a salad. But most importantly, components in these vegetables
may help your body defend against cancers such as colon, breast, lung, and
green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens, lettuce, kale, chicory, spinach,
and chard have an abundance of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. These nutrients may help protect
against cancer of the mouth, larynx, pancreas, lung, skin, and stomach.
is the main ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric and a potential cancer
fighter. Lab studies show it can suppress the transformation, proliferation,
and invasion of cancerous cells for a wide array of cancers.
you cook meat can make a difference in how big a cancer risk it poses. Frying,
grilling, and broiling meats at very high temperatures causes chemicals to form
that may increase cancer risk. Other cooking methods such as stewing, braising,
or steaming appear to produce fewer of those chemicals. And when you do stew
the meat, remember to add plenty of healthy, protective vegetables.
and raspberries have a phytochemical
acid. This powerful antioxidant may actually fight cancer in several ways at
once, including deactivating certain cancer causing substances and slowing the
growth of cancer cells.
potent antioxidents in
blueberries may have wide value in supporting our health, starting with cancer.
Antioxidants fight cancer by ridding the body of free radicals before they can
do their damage to cells. Try topping oatmeal, cold cereal, yogurt, even salad
with blueberries to boost your intake of these healthful berries.
may not cause cancer directly. But it may displace other nutrient-rich foods
that help protect against cancer. And it increases calorie counts, which
contributes to overweight and obesity. Excess weight can be a cancer risk.
Fruit offers a sweet alternative in a vitamin-rich package.
Limit alcohol to slash cancer risk. Cancers
of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast are all linked with
drinking alcohol. Alcohol may also raise the risk for cancer of the colon and
rectum. The American Cancer Society says that even the suggested daily limit of
2 drinks for men and 1 for women elevates the risk. Women at higher risk for
breast cancer may want to talk with a doctor about what amount of alcohol, if
any, is safe based on their personal risk factors.
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