Proven Cancer-Preventing Foods and Why They Work

Liana Werner-Gray Liana Werner-Gray
5 minute read

cancer preventing foods; woman eating blueberries, figs, oatmeal

I have researched cancer prevention and cancer preventing foods for more than a decade now. Everything I have learned at this point leads to the same information: as much as 75 percent of cancer can be linked to our choices. Mainly, our food choices.

We have proof that specific foods are useful for preventing and healing cancer. Habits can be broken. Choices can be changed. As the proverb states, “No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, you can always turn back.”

In 2022 alone, it's estimated that some 1.9 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. That's a terrifying number, and makes cancer prevention all the more crucial. Last year, I wrote specifically about ways to prevent breast cancer, and I encourage all women to read it, since it is the most common cancer diagnosis for women.

The Research Speaks for Itself

Research shows there are significant links between cancer risk and low intakes of specific nutrients. When we are nutrient-deficient, we are at risk for cancer.

Cancer cells are distorted versions of healthy cells. Knowing this, we can focus on feeding the body the nutrients that support healthy cellular function. The fastest way to promote healing is to put a high number of nutritious compounds into the body so it has what it needs to kill aggressive cancer cells. 

Top Cancer Preventing Foods

Superfoods -- foods rich in compounds that are considered especially beneficial for our health and well-being -- are much more powerful than cancer. The foods I share below help kill cancer cells before they take up residence in our bodies and prevent cancer and stop existing tumors from growing.

Broccoli Sprouts

broccoli sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are incredibly potent killers of cancer cells because of their unusually high sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane is also found in broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. But broccoli sprouts contain most of any other vegetable on the planet.

Paul Talalay, M.D., a pioneering professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was a major advocate of broccoli sprouts. He found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds than mature broccoli heads. That is astounding!

Turmeric

turmeric powder

Turmeric root is perhaps the most studied and talked about food for preventing and fighting cancer. After all, turmeric is a workhouse anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and brain-protecting superfood.

Turmeric contains three potent compounds: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, all of which have been widely studied and shown to help reduce and prevent cancer.

No matter how you do it, consuming turmeric is a no-brainer!

Blueberries

blueberries

Blueberries are a powerful anticancer superfruit. When tested among other fruits, guess which one consistently ranks high for antioxidant capacity? Blueberries!

That's because of their phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol, and other flavonoids (these are antibacterial), ellagitannins and ellagic acid; and pterostilbene, and resveratrol. These have been shown to help kill cancer cells and reduce tumor size.

Basically, blueberries are little (beneficial) bombs that go off in your body and increase the pace of natural programmed cancer cell death (apoptosis). 

Dark Leafy Greens

dark leafy greens salad

Darky leafy greens play a crucial role in overall health, thanks to isothiocyanates (in this case, sulforaphane and erucin), which help the body detox at the cellular level. But for cancer prevention, isothiocyanates can be a game-changer. One study says the oxidative stress caused by isothiocyanates can be helpful even on drug-resistant cancer cells. 

Dark leafy greens are also shown to inactivate carcinogens and help reprogram cancer cells to die, preventing tumor formation and metastasis.

If you aren't a fan of dark greens, an easy way to get them into your diet is through smoothies and juicing. You can always mask the taste by adding coconut water, pineapples, mangoes, and bananas! Trust me -- it works.

For full benefit, dark leafy greens must be purchased organic, as they are highly absorbent to pesticides and herbicides.

Cacao

I am a strong advocate for the healing power of cacao. Cacao is the main ingredient in pure chocolate before it is made into the dessert as we know it. Usually, after cacao is harvested, it is taken and heat-processed to make it into cocoa powder. Because of the heat, cocoa does not have as many nutrients as raw cacao powder.

Raw cacao powder is very high in nutrients and minerals. It contains polyphenolic compounds and has been proven by the science community to be a cancer-protective food. Cacao has been shown to have many potential anticancer compounds because of its high antioxidant count (40 times that of blueberries!). It can also reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of obesity, improve cardiovascular circulation, and improve your mood.

Food as Medicine

Never forget this -- the food you choose to eat can either heal your body or destroy it. So, every day from now on, I want you to ask yourself: “Am I eating enough cancer-fighting foods?” You have it in you to make the right choices -- so embrace that power! Make way for all of these cancer preventing foods in your diet.

Liana Werner-Gray is the founder and owner of The Earth Diet, author of diet-related books, and an advocate for natural healing using a healthy diet and lifestyle. Check out her books: Cancer-Free with Food, Anxiety-Free with Food, The Earth Diet, and 10-Minute Recipes. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @lianawernergray.

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