Cancer Fighting Foods: Foods that Fight Cancer

Cancer fighting foods are discussed here. Learn some of the food constituents that may reduce the risk for cancer. Find out how these foods inhibit cancer growth.

A nutritious diet, as well as other factors related to lifestyle, can reduce the risk of cancer initiation and promotion. Many single nutrients may have cancer inhibiting properties. These anti-carcinogens include antioxidants and certain phytochemicals.

The antioxidant activity of vitamin C and vitamin E helps to prevent formation of nitrosamines in the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing formation of a potent carcinogen. Vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium function as or contribute to antioxidant systems in the body. These antioxidant systems help prevent the alteration of DNA by electron-seeking compounds.

In addition, phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables, and even tea, block cancer development in some cases. Numerous studies suggest that fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of nearly all types of cancer. These foods are normally rich in carotenoids, vitamin C and E.

Adequate vitamin D intake is suspected of reducing breast, colon and prostate cancer. Calcium is also linked to a decreased risk for developing colon cancer.

In summary, a diet that follows the food guide pyramid, so that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, and some plant oils, are eaten daily, is a rich source of anticarcinogens. It is likely that all of these foods have a “cocktail” effect; in that no one food is likely to prevent cancer alone.

Diet That Limit the Risk of Cancer

Cancer fighting foods

The following is an example of a diet intended to limit the risk for cancer. These cancer fighting foods are low in fat, high in fruits and vegetables, and provides plenty of calcium.


  • 6 ounces orange juice
  • ½ cup ready-to-eat breakfast cereal
  • 1 cup 1% fat milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast, jelly, soft margarine
  • Hot tea



  • ½ cup chicken salad served on ½ bagel or 1 slice of whole-wheat bread
  • Assorted raw vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup1%fat milk
  • Fresh fruit in season: strawberries, melon, grapes, apple (1½ cups)
  • 2 fig cookies


  • 3 ounces baked fish (e.g., cod, white fish, salmon)
  • Baked potato topped with shredded mozzarella cheese (½ cup)
  • Roasted corn on the cod, soft margarine
  • Fresh garden salad with “lite” Italian dressing
  • 1 whole-wheat dinner roll
  • 1 scoop lemon ice or orange sherbet
  • Hot tea


  • 12 ounce can diet cola
  • 2 cups popcorn
  • ¼ cup mixed nuts
Cancer fighting foods-foods to eat

Constituents of Cancer Fighting Foods


Vitamin A

Dietary Sources

Liver, fortified milk, fruits, vegetables


 Encourages normal cell development and differentiation

Vitamin D

Fortified milk

Increases production of a protein which suppresses cell growth, such as in the colon

Vitamin E

Whole grains, vegetable oil, green, leafy vegetables

Antioxidant; prevents formation of nitrosamines

Vitamin C

Fruits, vegetables

Antioxidants; can block conversion of nitrites and nitrates to potent carcinogens


Fruits, vegetables, whole grains

Encourages normal cell development and especially reduces the risk of colon cancer


Meats, whole grains

Part of antioxidant system that inhibits tumor growth and kills early cancer cells in the promotion state

Carotenoids, such as lycopene

Fruits, vegetables

Likely acts as antioxidants; some of these possibly influence cell metabolism. Lycopene in particular may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Indoles, phenols, and other plant substances

Vegetables; especially cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, tea

Many reduce carcinogen activation in the liver and other cells


Milk products, green vegetables

Slows cell division in the colon, binds bile acids and free fatty acids, thus reducing colon cancer risk

Omega 3 fatty acids

Cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna

May inhibit tumor growth


Soy products

Phytic acid present possibly binds carcinogens in the intestinal tract; the genistein component possibly reduces growth and metastasis of malignant cells

Conjugated linoleic acid

Milk products, meats, fish

May inhibit tumor development and act as an antioxidant

Dietary Changes Will Lower Your Risk for Cancer

A variety of dietary changes will lower your risk for cancer. Start by making sure that your diet is moderate in energy and fat content and that you consume many fruits and vegetables, whole grain, beans, some fish, and low-fat or nonfat milk products.

In addition to cancer fighting foods, remain physically active, avoid obesity, moderate alcohol intake if used, and limit your intake of animal fats and salt-cured, smoked, and nitrate-cured foods.

Return from cancer fighting foods to cancer prevention

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