7 Cancer-Fighting Foods to Add to Your Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of cancer.

Handful of fresh berries are good cancer fighting foods.

More than 1.6 million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer each year. Some of the leading risk factors include sun exposure, smoking, secondhand smoke exposure, alcohol use, infectious diseases, and obesity.

Although there are many ways to take precautions against cancer like early screenings, being aware of your family history of the disease, and making lifestyle changes, there is something more you can do.

Recent studies done by the American Institute for Cancer Research found that dietary choices can influence the body’s ability to fight cancer. Some foods can truly make a difference in both preventing and fighting off the effects of cancer. Here are just seven of them to keep stocked in your kitchen.

1. Apples

Apparently, your parents were onto something when they told you that an apple a day can keep the doctor away. Apples are filled with polyphenol compounds, which studies show can lower the risk of breast cancer.

2. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries—you name it. Berries are pros at defending your body from cancer due to their antioxidants, which act to protect the body from cell damage. Studies even suggest berries can act against specific cancers like skin, lung, breast, and esophageal.

3. Whole grains

Your whole wheat pasta might not just be delicious; it could be saving your life at the same time. Recent research found that because of their rich fiber and antioxidant content, whole grains can protect you against gastrointestinal cancers and hormone-based cancers like breast and prostate.

4. Flaxseed

Scientists are still looking for further research on this one, but studies show that flaxseeds can play a supporting role in fighting off cancer. Flaxseeds are rich in fiber, which keeps gut bacteria in check and phytoestrogens can prevent tumor growth.

5. Cruciferous vegetables

While they may not be everyone’s first choice, vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula, and brussels sprouts have high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and glucosinolates. These chemicals have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

6. Sweet potatoes

These sweet little vegetables should probably be called “super potatoes” because they are packing some powerful cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that sweet potatoes are a rich source of carotenoids—antioxidants that help your body control cell growth—which can effectively help your body prevail against cancer cells.

7. Turmeric

This golden-colored spice can give both your soup and any potential cancer cells a good kick. Many people already use turmeric in daily recipes or even take it in the form of a pill to help them reduce their inflammation levels. According to scientists, turmeric is also showing signs that it can help slow the progression of cancer and perhaps even help cancer sufferers better respond to chemotherapy.

Related: 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating

Many small changes to your diet, like adding a few berries to your morning waffles, can help you fight off or prevent cancer. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the right cancer screenings for you, so that you can detect cancer early or determine your risk factors in order to start taking preventative measures now.

Related: 7 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Cancer

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