Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and while modern medicine has made great strides in treating and curing it, prevention is always better than cure. What you eat can have a definite impact on your health. While eating foods that contain cancer-causing preservatives or chemicals can cause cancer, there are other foods containing natural compounds that can help prevent cancer. The best anti-cancer foods contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins and key nutrients to help maintain strong longterm health.
Of course, what you eat regularly matters. There is a direct correlation between consuming highly processed foods and developing cancer. A study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health observed the diets of 200,000 middle-aged adults, finding that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods displays a connection to a greater risk of developing and dying from cancer overall. Ovarian and brain cancers were particularly prevalent.
Even the packaging your food is wrapped in can cause cancer. Another study from Swiss scientists finds common food wrapping has 388 individual “substances of concern,” including 352 known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic to reproduction. Another 22 were hormone or endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and 32 endanger health with persistence and “bioaccumulation.” Packaging that touches food can easily transfer these harmful compounds to food that is then consumed.
If you’re looking to improve your health and add some of the best anti-cancer foods to your diet, stay tuned. StudyFinds did the research and collected evidence from ten expert websites, creating our list based on the top recommendations across these sites.
The List: Best Anti-Cancer Foods, According to Health Experts
Berries are one of the best anti-cancer foods you can add to your diet. Use them to top salads or make desserts, or eat them alone as a delicious snack. Medical News Today explains “Berries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers.”
“Berries are high in anthocyanins, plant pigments that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer,” says Healthline. Berries contain ellagic acid in particular, an antioxidant shows potential for reducing normal cell damage and promoting cancer cell death during radiation therapy.
“Berries have a variety of anti-cancer advantages that impede the initiation, progression and development of cancer,” writes Culinary Nutrition. “Some of these cancer-fighting benefits include but are not limited to: anti-angiogenesis (impedes the cancer cell blood supply), inhibits metastasis (cancer spread), induces apoptosis (cancer cell death), and interfering with key pathways that support cancer growth.”
2. Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
Consumer Reports finds that “These cruciferous vegetables, a group that also includes brussels sprouts, kale, and turnips, get their bitter taste from isothiocyanates. These compounds reduce inflammation and deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.” These types of vegetables don’t taste as good raw or on their own, so it’s best to chop them up and add them to stir-fry or other cooked and seasoned dishes.
“Cruciferous veggies also have healthy amounts of vitamin C, which also helps shield healthy cells from free radicals,” says U.S. News. These vegetables also contain glucosinolate, which are natural compounds that can shield the body from disease.”
“Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that may have potent anticancer properties,” writes Healthline. “Some studies have also found that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.”
An apple a day just might keep the doctor away. “Apples contain flavonoids and polyphenols which help fight cancer,” writes HealthXchange.
“Regular apple eaters have a lower risk for lung cancer as well as certain types of breast cancer,” adds Prevention. Be sure to eat the skin if you want the full benefits of the flavonoid quercetin, which has been associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers.
Culinary Nutrition explains “The viscous fibers in apples, like pectin, may help with blood sugar health while fermentable fibers promote a healthier gut microbiome. Both blood sugar regulation and gut health can play a role in the immune system’s ability to reduce chronic inflammation and respond to cancer cells.”
Research shows that tomatoes have anti-cancer properties, thanks to glycoalkaloids, which are naturally-occurring compounds found in the fruit. Tomatine from tomatoes can help support the body’s cell cycle regulatory processes, which in turn can help the body support itself and kill cancer cells.
Lycopene also helps give tomatoes a major health boost. Food Network writes “Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to help protect against prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancer.” Eat tomatoes with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, or nuts to increase absorption.
“There’s no wrong way to eat any fruit or vegetable, but tomatoes kick into overachiever mode when cooked,” adds AARP. Cooking tomatoes releases a higher amount of lycopene, so you’ll actually find it at a much higher concentration in pasta sauce or ketchup.
Turmeric is an orange spice that’s a relative of ginger. You’ll often find it in “wellness” shots or other immune elixirs for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. HealthXchange says “Tumeric contains curcumin extracts which help alleviate the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”
Add tumeric to in small doses to cooked dishes or teas. “‘Aim for one teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper or more daily, which can easily be used in a tonic drink, with eggs or in a veggie stir fry,” adds Dr. Axe.
“Turmeric is a spice well-known for its health-promoting properties. Curcumin, its active ingredient, is a chemical with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and even anticancer effects,” writes Healthline.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Vitamins For Your Immune System
- Best Ways To Lower Cholesterol
- Healthiest Meats For Your Diet
- Best Probiotic Supplements
- Most Nutritious Vegetables
- Medical News Today
- Consumer Reports
- U.S. News
- Culinary Nutrition
- Food Network
- Dr. Axe
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.