5 Foods That Help Fight Cancer

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
Cancer afflicts a large percentage of adults in the United States, and cancer prevention remains a leading topic in the health care industry. Books, articles and websites point out that a healthy diet is crucial in preventing the disease and that certain foods can help the body effectively fight cancer after a diagnosis. Cancer researchers repeatedly highlight a small group of cancer-fighting foods.

5 Teas

Wikimedia Commons

As for beverages, researchers have found the flavonoids and a substance known kaempferol found in hot tea as effective against cancer. Green (unprocessed) tea contains a variety of polyphenols, including a compound known as ECGC that can inhibit the growth of tumors and repair UV damage from overexposure to sunlight. Researchers have noted that healthy foods taken daily in combination—a daily diet of green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains, for example—is the most effective cancer prevention diet.

4 Legumes

Wikimedia Commons

A legume manufactures protein from nitrogen in the process of photosynthesis, giving the bean family a potent protein punch without the fat. The high folate (folic acid) content in kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, split peas and lentils helps the body to repair damaged cells, which is important in fighting cancer. Legumes also offer a lineup of nearly unpronounceable but healthy antioxidant compounds, including triterpenoids, inositol and sterols.

3 Whole Grains

Wikimedia Commons

Food manufacturers have various ways of processing grains like wheat and barley; the three major structures of these plants are germ, bran and endosperm. A “whole grain” product includes all three parts, while a refined grain lacks bran and germ, leaving a product that is mostly starch and lacking in nutrients. The big whole grain menu includes brown rice, oatmeal, pasta, corn, wheat bread, kasha and tabouli. These foods offer a healthy dose of fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other cancer-fighting compounds.

2 Green Leafy Vegetables

Wikimedia Commons

Kale, spinach, collard greens, chicory, romaine and other kinds of lettuce contain fiber, folate and carotenoids, which are effective cancer fighters, particular against cancers of the skin, lung, stomach and breast. Dietary fiber in any form is effective in preventing colorectal cancer, and folate helps protect against dangerous pancreatic cancer. Besides the dark and green leafies, cancer research also favors cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

1 Berries

Preto Perola / Shutterstock

The berry family has been the subject of extensive cancer food research. Along with good old-fashioned vitamin C and fiber, several varieties offer more exotic cancer-fighting ingredients, including antioxidants—chemicals that protect healthy cells from the chain-reaction effect of free radicals, which can give rise to cancer. An antioxidant phytochemical known as ellagic acid in strawberries and raspberries is effective against cancers of the skin, breast and lungs, and can slow the reproduction of cancer cells. The anthocyanosides in blueberries are another group of effective antioxidant compounds.

Brendan Brazier’s Top 5 Vegan Power Foods Brendan Brazier’s Top 5 Vegan Power Foods