Foods That Lower Cancer Risk

Foods that lower cancer risk
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

If you’ve spent some time on our SuperFoodsRx website, you know there are foods that, included in your regular diet, may help reduce the risk of one day developing certain cancers. It’s the super-nutrients in these foods that really make the difference.

Check this out–these five important phytochemical groups that can help you be your healthiest. Incorporate at least one food from each group every day.

1. Foods with Phenolic Acids:

Calling all coffee lovers and potato-aholics, I’m talking to you! These foods, along with oats, soy products, pears, and berries contain phenolic acids. These acids help keep inflammation down, and help detoxify some potential carcinogens.

2. Foods with Carotenoids:

There are studies that show a link between idets rich in these brightly colored foods and a reduced risk of prostate and colon cancer. Carotenoid-rich foods include bell peppers, carrots, oranges, spinach, sweet potato, and other deep red, yellow, and green foods.

3. Foods with Flavonoids:

Flavonoids help decrease inflammation, and in controlled studies have demonstrated an ability to impair the replication of certain cancer cells. Berries, dark chocolate, green and black tea, citrus fruits, and olives all are rich in flavonoids.

4. Foods with Organosulfers:

You know these guys, the foods that give you gas and stinky breath—but hey, that’s not all they do! They contain huge amounts of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Go heavy on the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, turnips, kale, and kohlrabi. New studies have shown them to be particularly promising in the battle to reduce cancer risk through improved diets. Be liberal with the garlic and onions, and don’t forget the chives! Your body will adjust to the pungent sulfurs in these foods.

5. Foods with Phytoestrogens:

Yes, you read that correctly. There’s been a lot of buzz around phytoestrogen-containing foods—do they increase cancer risk, decrease it, or have no effect? Now, I think there’s pretty good scientific data that points to these foods helping to protect against reproductive system cancers. Whole grains, flax, and soy products contain these phytonutrients. Stay away from processed/refined grains, and heavily processed soy (soy protein isolate)—instead go for tempeh, tofu, edamame, and miso.

Cancer is the number two cause of death in our country, and number one worldwide. What we eat can have a big impact on not only our overall health, but on our likelihood of not getting cancer, or being able to fight it off and survive it if we do.

Sources: University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, The Journal of Nutrition, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, National Institutes of Health


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