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The Side Dish That Thwarts Aggressive Cancer

The Side Dish That Thwarts Aggressive Cancer

The risk of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer could be cut by over a third with this side dish: a tossed salad.

In a study, eating lots of raw salad veggies dropped HER-2-positive breast cancer risk by nearly 35 percent. HER-2 is a rare but aggressive form of the disease. Time to hit the salad bar!

Produce-Aisle Protection
The study compared a Western diet—high in meat and potatoes—to other diets, and the women who ate not only the most salad veggies but also the most olive oil had the best protection against HER-2 breast cancer. So ask for an olive-oil-based vinaigrette if you don't see one on the salad bar. (Find out how many servings of vegetables you need to cut your risk of all cancers.)

Something About Folate
Researchers think the antioxidant- and folate-rich salad veggies help with HER-2 cancer because those nutrients are best at thwarting cancer-causing oxidative damage to DNA. And oleic acid, found in olive oil, may hinder the production of HER-2 cancer cells. For some reason, there was only a benefit to HER-2 breast cancer in the study. But earlier research suggests that salad veggies may be good at thwarting all types of breast cancer -- just to a lesser degree than with HER-2. Get the scoop on the power of fruits and veggies to protect against other kinds of breast cancer.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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