We’ve all heard about antioxidants, like vitamin C, found in fruits and veggies. Studies suggest that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of cancer. Various chemicals from plants, known as phytochemicals, seem to protect cell damage and mutations.

A diet that could potentially prevent cancer wouldn’t look that different than the healthy foods you should be already eating. Just plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat or fish. But let’s look at a few superfoods that could be that extra push towards protection.


risk of cancer

Photo by Alex Weiner

Your stinky breath will compensate for the healthiness. The same sulfur compounds that cause the bad odor may also stop  the formation of cancer-causing substances, speed DNA repair, and kill cancerous cells.

Garlic also fights bacteria, including H. pylori, meaning it may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Garlic also contains a compound allicin, which interferes with enzymes necessary for the growth of infectious organisms.

When cooking with garlic, peel and chop the cloves before letting them sit for about 20 minutes. This activates enzymes and releases that sulfur compounds that offer the most protection. Find delicious recipes using garlic or make some healthy Pan-fried Garlic Kale to satisfy your snacking and begin to defend your body against cancer.


risk of cancer

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Remember when your mom would make you stay at the table until you finished your broccoli? Well maybe thank her, because broccoli and other cruciferous veggies like kale (with your garlic) contain phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which produce protective enzymes.

Broccoli is the best source of sulforaphane, which scientists are researching how it might reduce cancer risk by detoxifying harmful substances. Broccoli is most protective against mouth, esophagus, and stomach cancers.

So steam some broccoli and add some garlic, or find some yummy ways to spice up your relationship with broccoli.


risk of cancer

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Tomatoes are the potential weapon against prostate cancer. The red color comes from a phytochemical called lycopene, an antioxidant. Lab tests have shown that lycopene has stopped cancer cells from growing, including lung, breast, and endometrial.This phytochemical boosts the immune system and may stop the growth of tumors by interfering with abnormal cell growth,

This phytochemical boosts the immune system and may stop the growth of tumors by interfering with abnormal cell growth, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Eat tomatoes cooked or processed, including tomato juice or pizza sauce. So yes, even a Bloody Mary or pizza could help you fight cancer. So roast up some tomatoes and enjoy.


risk of cancer

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Super rich in antioxidants, berries may protect against heart disease and memory decline, as well as possibly cancer. In a recent study, berry extract helped slow the growth of cancerous cells, strawberries and black raspberries in particular for colon cancer cells.

Strawberries contain vitamin C and ellagic acid, which could potentially have anticancer properties and slow tumor growth. Other berries are an important part of your diet as well, like blueberries, which are packed with inflammation-reducing anthocyanins. Eating fruit most likely decreases the risk of lung cancer and has the potential to prevent mouth, esophagus, and stomach cancers.

Berries are truly delicious and easy to eat. There are so many recipes out there to fulfill this spot on your plate – try them in a smoothie or in dessert form.


risk of cancer

Photo by Santina Renzi

Maybe you have been told that spinach is good for your eyes due to the lutein in it, but it is a carotenoid that can remove unstable molecules called free radicals from your body before damage takes place. Cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach can possibly be prevented by eating spinach and similar dark leafy greens.

With folate and fiber, which researchers believe may reduce the risk for cancers, your body can produce new cells and repair DNA. For women at the age of childbearing, folate is especially important because it can prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus.

The most lutein is in raw or lightly cooked spinach. Mix it into a salad, steam or sauté it with garlic, or stir it into a soup (maybe a tomato soup). You can also substitute kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens if you’re looking for a change of dishes.