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5 foods that fight cancer

September 2012

by Adelina Espat

Want to eat your way to cancer prevention? Eating the right foods can help.

Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research estimate about one-third of the 1.4 million cancers that occur every year in the United States could be prevented, in part, by making healthier food choices.

Check out our slideshow to find out some of the foods to stock up on.

Highlights

  • Berries - April 2010

    Very Berry Protection Against Skin Cancer
    Berries are a sweet, colorful summertime treat that’s sure to please any taste bud.   

    So how does this popular treat prevent cancer? Berries are a wonderful source of Vitamin C. Most berries also contain antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the body from cell damage that could lead to skin cancer, as well as cancers of the bladder, lung, breast and esophagus (the tube where food travels from the throat to the stomach).

    Learn more about research on berries. 

  • Berry Smoothie - April 2010

    Get Creative With Berries
    Berries are yummy fresh, frozen or dried!

    Serving Size: ½ cup

    • Toss some raspberries in with your morning yogurt or cereal
    • Make a low-fat strawberry smoothie for a quick, healthy snack
    • Bake some delicious blueberry bran muffins for a meal-on-the-go
  • Grapes - April 2010

    Great Grapes Help Fight Breast Cancer
    Grapes are sweet, juicy and irresistible. It isn’t just the taste that’s great. Grapes are a rich source of the antioxidant resveratrol. Studies show that resveratrol has the potential to possibly stop cancer from starting in the breast, as well as in the liver, stomach and lymphatic system.

    The grape’s skin has the most resveratrol, so leave the skin intact. Red and purple grapes have significantly more resveratrol than green grapes.

    Learn more about research on grapes.

  • Grape Chicken - April 2010

    Get Creative With Grapes
    Grapes are great in hot dishes too!

    Serving Size: About 15 grapes

    • Try a roasted grape sauce over chicken
    • Grab a handful as a snack
    • Mix them in with your favorite, low-fat chicken salad recipe
    • Freeze  as a cool treat for a hot day
  • Broccoli - April 2010

    Broccoli Beats Stomach Cancer
    The fantastic thing about broccoli is that its “trees” (otherwise known as florets) take on the flavor of whatever spice or sauce you prepare them with.

    These mighty greens are in the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale. Studies show that broccoli and its family members have special plant compounds that may protect the body from stomach cancer, as well as cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus.

    Learn more about research on cruciferous vegetables.

  • Broccoli Soup - April 2010

    Get Creative With Broccoli
    Try a cold broccoli soup on a scorching summer day!

    Serving Size: ½ cup

    • Puree steamed broccoli, avocado, garlic, non-fat milk and low-fat sour cream for a refreshing cold soup
    • Add your favorite spices to steamed broccoli for a great side dish
    • Cure the afternoon munchies with raw broccoli and fat-free ranch dressing
    • Add broccoli to a salad with raisins, sunflower seeds, red onions and a low-fat sweet and sour dressing
  • Tomato Sauce - April 2010

    Tomatoes Topple Prostate Cancer
    The tomato gets its classic red hue from an antioxidant called lycopene. Studies show that lycopene has the potential to fight prostate cancer. The evidence is even stronger for processed tomato products, such as tomato sauce and even ketchup.  

    Processing the tomato ups its cancer-fighting power because it releases the lycopene so it can be more easily absorbed by the body.

    Learn more about research on tomatoes.

  • Tomato Juice - April 2010

    Get Creative With Tomatoes

    • Order a can of tomato juice on an airplane ride instead of a can of soda.
    • Freeze tomato dishes for healthy leftovers
    • Make savory marinara sauce to serve on whole wheat pasta
    • Chop up fresh tomatoes and add to your favorite salad
  • slider-wholegrain-web

    Whole grains guard cells from damage
    Grocery store shelves are filled with grains and grain products. But not all grains are cancer-fighting foods. Only whole grains curb cancer risk.

    That’s because whole grains are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural plant compounds. Added bonus: the fiber found in whole grains helps you stay full longer, maintain a healthy weight, and keep your cholesterol and blood sugar at normal levels.

    Learn more about whole grains.

  • slider-quinoa-web

    Get creative with whole grains

    • Choose brown over white. This includes brown rice, wild rice and whole wheat bread.
    • Try a quinoa recipe. Added bonus: of all the grains, quinoa packs in the most protein.
    • Add oatmeal to your morning smoothie. It’s an easy way to sneak in extra grains.

    Use this checklist to find other “real” whole grains.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center