What are some good cancer-fighting foods?

Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine
Certain compounds found in cruciferous vegetables may block the effects of cancer-causing substances and suppress tumor growth. Young sprouts of broccoli and cauliflower, compared to the mature counterparts, contain much higher levels of cancer-fighting isothiocyanates. Plant estrogens are found in soy beans, whole wheat, berries, and flax seed. They may help reduce the risk for certain hormone-stimulated cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. They may also inhibit the proliferation of existing cancer cells. Some evidence suggests the genistein in soy may have properties that are protective against lung cancer. Flavonoids and polyphenols, including those found in apples, onions, tea and red wine, are thought to have possible cancer-fighting properties. In one 24-year study, people who ate flavonoid-rich foods had a 20% lower risk of cancer in general.

Resveratrol, a phytochemical found in grapes, has been found to fight tumor promotion and progression in mice. The organosulfur compounds found in the onion and garlic family may have very potent properties in suppressing or blocking cancer-causing substances. Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids show protection against cancer. The carotenoid lycopene, found in tomatoes, may have particular value in protection against prostate, colon, and bladder cancer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Adding these foods to your grocery list can help you prevent cancer:

  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant sulforaphane, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer in mice.
  • Cauliflower. Several studies have found a link between diets rich in cauliflower and a lower cancer risk.
  • Spinach. This vegetable is rich in folate – a B-complex vitamin that can protect against cancer.

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Neal D. Barnard, MD

One category of fruits is packed with powerful anti-cancer nutrients, says nutrition expert Dr. Neal Barnard. Find out  which one it is by watching this video.

William W. Li, MD
Internal Medicine

Foods help fight cancer in different ways, says diet and disease prevention specialist Dr. William Li. Find out which foods are especially good at fighting cancer and how they work by watching this video.

There are many foods to help boost your immune system. Here are two tips to get started. A variety of fruits and vegetables are key. Look for the deep, bold colors such as choosing spinach instead of iceberg lettuce. Protein is the source of fuel for the immune system. Choosing two thirds of your diet from vegetarian protein sources is ideal. Sources include: legumes, nuts, seeds, natural soy, low fat dairy, or quinoa. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.