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Foods That Could Lower Your Risk of Cancer

4 min read
Image showing cancer cells

13 foods that could lower your risk of cancer

The development of Cancer, in particular, has been shown to be heavily influenced by your diet.

Many foods contain beneficial compounds that could help decrease the growth of cancer.

There are also several studies showing that a higher intake of certain foods could be associated with a lower risk of the disease.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that may have potent anticancer properties.

One test-tube study showed that sulforaphane reduced the size and number of breast cancer cells by up to 75%

Similarly, an animal study found that treating mice with sulforaphane helped kill off prostate cancer cells and reduced tumor volume by more than 50%

2. Carrots

Several studies have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer.

A study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with 18% lower odds of developing prostate cancer.

One study analyzed the diets of 1,266 participants with and without lung cancer. It found that current smokers who did not eat carrots were three times as likely to develop lung cancer, compared to those who ate carrots more than once per week.

Try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or delicious side dish just a few times per week to increase your intake and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.

3. Beans

Beans are high in fiber, which some studies have found may help protect against colorectal cancer

One study followed 1,905 people with a history of colorectal tumors, and found that those who consumed more cooked, dried beans tended to have a decreased risk of tumor recurrence

4. Berries

Berries are high in anthocyanins, plant pigments that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

In one human study, 25 people with colorectal cancer were treated with bilberry extract for seven days, which was found to reduce the growth of cancer cells by 7%

One animal study found that giving rats freeze-dried black raspberries reduced esophageal tumor incidence by up to 54% and decreased the number of tumors by up to 62%

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is well-known for its health benefits, including its ability to reduce blood sugar and ease inflammation

In addition, some test-tube and animal studies have found that cinnamon may help block the spread of cancer cells.

Including 1/2–1 teaspoon (2–4 grams) of cinnamon in your diet per day may be beneficial in cancer prevention, and may come with other benefits as well, such as reduced blood sugar and decreased inflammation.

See also: 7 Superfoods for fast weight loss

6. Nuts

Research has found that eating nuts may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

For instance, a study looked at the diets of 19,386 people and found that eating a greater amount of nuts was associated with a decreased risk of dying from cancer

7. Olive Oil

Olive oil is loaded with health benefits, so it’s no wonder it’s one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet.

Several studies have even found that a higher intake of olive oil may help protect against cancer.

Swapping out other oils in your diet for olive oil is a simple way to take advantage of its health benefits. You can drizzle it over salads and cooked vegetables, or try using it in your marinades for meat, fish or poultry.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice well-known for its health promoting benefits. Curcumin, its active ingredient, is a chemical with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and even anticancer effects.

One study looked at the effects of curcumin on 44 patients with lesions in the colon that could have become cancerous. After 30 days, 4 grams of curcumin daily reduced the number of lesions present by 40%

For the best results, aim for at least 1/2–3 teaspoons (1–3 grams) of ground turmeric per day. Use it as a ground spice to add flavor to foods, and pair it with black pepper to help boost its absorption.

9. Citrus Fruits

Eating citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges has been associated with a lower risk of cancer in some studies.

One large study found that participants who ate a higher amount of citrus fruits had a lower risk of developing cancers of the digestive and upper respiratory tracts

10. Flaxseed

High in fiber as well as heart-healthy fats, flaxseed can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Some research has shown that it may even help decrease cancer growth and help kill off cancer cells.

At the end of the study, the flaxseed group had decreased levels of specific markers that measure tumor growth, as well as an increase in cancer cell death

11. Tomatoes

Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes that is responsible for its vibrant red color as well as its anticancer properties.

Several studies have found that an increased intake of lycopene and tomatoes could lead to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

To help increase your intake, include a serving or two of tomatoes in your diet each day by adding them to sandwiches, salads, sauces or pasta dishes.

12. Garlic

The active component in garlic is allicin, a compound that has been shown to kill off cancer cells in multiple test-tube studies

Several studies have found an association between garlic intake and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

One study of 543,220 participants found that those who ate lots of Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions, leeks and shallots, had a lower risk of stomach cancer than those who rarely consumed them

13. Fatty Fish

Some research suggests that including a few servings of fish in your diet each week may reduce your risk of cancer.

One large study showed that a higher intake of fish was associated with a lower risk of digestive tract cancer

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and anchovies contain important nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer.

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