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Foods That Lower Cancer Risk

1. Foods with Phenolic Acids:

Calling all coffee lovers and potato-aholics, I’m talking to you! These foods, along with oats, soy products, pears, and berries contain cancer-fighting phenolic acids. These acids help keep inflammation down, and detoxify potential cancer-causing agents, a.k.a. carcinogens.

2. Foods with Carotenoids:

These brightly colored foods may reduce the risk of cancers such as prostate and colon cancer as a result of their ability to preferentially kill cancer cells. Carotenoid-rich foods include bell peppers, carrots, oranges, spinach, sweet potato, and other deep red, yellow, and green foods.

3. Foods with Flavonoids:

Flavonoids help decrease inflammation, and are able to keep cancerous cells from replicating out of control. Flavonoid can be found in berries, dark chocolate, green and black tea, citrus fruits, and olives.

4. Foods with Organosulfers:

You know these guys, the foods that give you gas and stinky breath—but that’s not all they do! They also contain huge amounts of antioxidants and cancer-preventing compounds. Go heavy on the cruciferous vegetables, they are particularly promising for cancer prevention—broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, turnips, kale, and kohlrabi. Be liberal with the garlic and onions, and don’t forget the chives! Your body will adjust to the pungent sulfers in these foods.

5. Foods with Phytoestrogens:

Yes, you read that correctly. There has been so much buzz around the phytoestrogen foods—do they increase cancer risk, decrease it, or have no effect? Good scientific data points to these foods helping to protect against reproductive system cancers. Whole grains, flax, and soy products contain these phytonutrients. Stay away from processed/refined grains, and heavily processed soy (soy protein isolate)—instead go for tempeh, tofu, edamame, and miso. Cancer is the number two cause of death in our country, and number one worldwide. What we eat can have a big impact on not only our overall health, but on our likelihood of not getting cancer, or being able to fight it off and surviving it if we do.

Sources:, University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine,

The Journal of Nutrition, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

National Institutes of Health

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