Top Cancer-Fighting Foods

Here are 16 foods to include in your healthy eating plan that have been shown to help fight cancer.

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A Preventative Shopping List

Researchers believe that up to 60 percent of cancer deaths can be prevented simply by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Since many foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals — natural plant chemicals that may help prevent and fight diseases like cancer — changing your diet is an effective place to start. If you haven't already, consider adding the following items to your healthy eating regimen.

Black Beans

These legumes contain numerous cancer-fighting nutrients including anthocyanins and triterpenoids, which act as powerful antioxidants. Research has found that the nutrients in black beans can help fight breast, prostate and colon cancer.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers are brimming with carotenoids, which are associated with cancer-protecting properties. Research has also shown that capsaicin found in chili peppers may also contribute to cancer cell death. It’s just another reason to add some spice to your dishes.


Research has found that the phytochemicals found in mushrooms can help block the activity of the hormone estrogen, which is usually needed for breast cancers to grow. More research is coming out with mushrooms and cancer prevention which is looking very promising. 

Fatty Fish

Here’s another reason why you should be including fatty fish in your weekly meal plan. Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel may help minimize cancer cell growth and increase the rate of cancer cell death. 

Dark Leafy Greens

Collards, spinach and kale are premium examples of dark leafy green veggies that contain both lutein and beta-carotene (a.k.a. vitamin A). Both are part of the carotenoid family and give food that red-orange color. They’ve been shown to help prevent breast cancer.


Pomegranates are high in the polyphenol punicalagin and anthocyanins, both are powerful antioxidants. Research conducted on both animals and humans found that pomegranate juice helped slow down cancer cell growth. 

Green Tea

Scientific evidence suggests that the powerful antioxidants found in green tea (called polyphenols) help prevent breast, prostate, colon, stomach and skin cancer.


The potent antioxidant power of quercetin and ellagic acid found in strawberries has been shown to help play a role in cancer prevention and treatment. These phytochemicals have been shown to help protect DNA against damage and fight free radicals that may cause cell damage. They may also help prevent cancer formation and progression.


Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to help protect against prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancer. Cooked tomatoes and tomato products like canned tomatoes, ketchup, tomato soup and spaghetti sauce contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. Watermelonguavapink grapefruitblood oranges and apricots also contain the potent antioxidant.


Watermelon is a good source of lycopene, which is found in cooked or processed tomato products (like canned tomatoes). This antioxidant has been shown to help protect against certain types of cancer including breast, lung, prostate, and stomach.

Cruciferous Vegetables

These are veggies from the cabbage family including broccoli, cauliflowercabbageBrussels sprouts and mustard greens. They contain antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer.


All varieties of grapes rank very high in antioxidants, important to help prevent cancer. Also, the flavonoids in the skin, flesh, and seeds of the grapes protect DNA and also may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.

Red Wine

The antioxidants found in red wine (called resveratrol) have been shown to help prevent prostate, skin and breast cancer. The suggested amount: one 5-ounce glass per day for women and two for men.


Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, chestnuts and pistachios contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which may help prevent certain types of cancer. Many oils including safflower, corn and soybean oil also contain vitamin E.


Several components found in garlic are thought to help prevent stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreas, skin, lungs and breast cancer. The active compounds are formed when garlic cloves are chopped or crushed.


Oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit all contain tons of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer-causing cell damage. Not a citrus fan? Strawberries, kiwi, potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers also contain the superstar vitamin.

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