Enlist These Foods to Help Prevent Cancer

Plant foods, which contain antioxidants, may help reduce your risk for many cancers.

Try to eat approximately 2 cups of fruit, 2½ cups of vegetables, and plenty of grains, of which half should be whole grain, each day. Be sure to make room on your plate for the following nutrition-packed foods.

Blueberries

These small fruits contain anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give blueberries, cherries, plums, red and purple grapes, and red cabbage their color. Anthocyanins help neutralize cancer-causing substances and may help prevent gastrointestinal cancers.

Tasty tip: Freeze red or purple grapes and eat them frozen. Add blueberries or cherries to cereal, yogurt, or pudding.

Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, chard, kale, and brussels sprouts have substances that cause enzymes to be released into your system. These enzymes help break down chemicals that cause cancer and may slow early tumor growth.

Tasty tip: Add broccoli to salads and cabbage or chard to soups.

Orange foods

Beta-carotene is the pigment that colors pumpkins, carrots, acorn and winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, and sweet potatoes. It is also an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer cells from forming. 

Tasty tip: Use canned pumpkin puree as a savory soup base. Pack dried apricots and mangoes for a portable, chewy, sweet snack.

Tomatoes

Lycopene makes tomatoes red. It is also an antioxidant that may help prevent bladder, breast, cervical, digestive tract, lung, prostate, and skin cancers. Cooked tomatoes (in a little oil) provide more lycopene than raw tomatoes. Watermelon and pink grapefruit are other sources of lycopene.

Tasty tip: Try a refreshing grapefruit, guava, and papaya salad or end a meal with a slice of watermelon.

Whole grains

Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, bran cereal, and other whole grains are rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial to health. In addition, they contain phytochemicals and specific substances that have been linked to lower cancer risk, including antioxidants, phenols, lignans, and saponins.

Tasty tip: Start your day with at least two servings of whole grains, such as a full bowl of oatmeal or bran flakes, or two slices of whole wheat toast.