How Eating Healthy Foods Can Help Prevent Cancer

4 min read

How Eating Healthy Foods Can Help Prevent Cancer

Eating a healthy, balanced diet provides your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to get you through your day. But did you know that eating a healthy diet can also reduce your risk of certain types of cancers? Discover some cancer-fighting foods that may be no further away than your pantry or refrigerator.

Foods That Help Fight Cancer

The National Cancer Institute does not recommend any dietary supplement for the prevention or treatment of cancer. However these foods have shown potential for reducing the risk of developing cancer due to their cancer-fighting properties.

Broccoli and Cruciferous Veggies

Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, radishes and even wasabi contain fiber, folate and vitamins C, E, and K. They also get their strong smell from sulfur-containing chemicals. All of these agents help boost your body's protective enzymes and flush out cancer-causing chemicals. Broccoli is particularly helpful because of a compound that targets the cancer stem cells that can grow tumors.

Most useful in reducing the risk of developing bladder, stomach, liver, lung, prostate, skin and breast cancers.


Although its scent is strong, this vegetable can help keep cancer away. Smelly in a different way than cruciferous vegetables, garlic contains a set of chemicals that can block the formation of cancer-causing substances and/or halt the activation of these substances.

Garlic is most useful in fighting against breast, pancreatic, esophageal and stomach cancers. Most people take garlic in the form of a supplement rather than eating bulbs of garlic. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for general health promotion for adults is one of the following:

  • a daily dose of 2 to 5 g of fresh garlic (approximately one clove)
  • 0.4 to 1.2 g of dried garlic powder
  • 2 to 5 mg of garlic oil
  • 300 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract
  • or other formulations that are equal to 2 to 5 mg of allicin


Lycopene, the substance that turns tomatoes red, has been studied for its cancer fighting effects. This powerful antioxidant is part of the “red family” of compounds that shows potential for fighting cancer in laboratory studies. Although the evidence suggests that foods containing lycopene, including tomatoes, likely offer cancer protection, the American Institute for Cancer Research stresses the importance of eating a variety of plant foods. Varying the types of healthy foods you eat allows you to gain the most benefit in fighting against cancer. No food by itself can effectively lower cancer risk.


Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and berries of every color contain chemicals, called antioxidants, that block the activity of other chemicals, known as free radicals, that may damage cells which can lead to the formation of a tumor.

While berries have been found are useful in fighting colorectal cancer, there are other foods that will help you maintain an overall healthy diet which is recommended to fight cancer. Consume all things in moderation, even healthy foods, and include a wide variety of healthy foods in your daily intake, not just those listed here.

Foods That Can Cause Cancer

Animal Fats

While meats and dairy products provide protein and nutrients like iron and calcium that are good for you, the saturated fats they contain can be harmful. You don't have to become a vegetarian, but try to choose low-fat versions of meats and cheeses, and steer clear of processed meats whenever you can which tend to be higher in fat, nitrates and other preservatives.


Too much alcohol doesn't just impair your ability to drive, it impairs your body's ability to fight disease. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men have no more than two drinks per day. Excessive alcohol can increase your risk of mouth, esophagus, breast and liver cancers.

Charred Meats

Certain chemicals, called HCAs and PAHs, are formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, and poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as a grill. Exposure to high levels of HCAs and PAHs can cause cancer in animals; however, whether such exposure causes cancer in humans is unclear. It may be best to avoid foods that are highly charred (black from heat exposure).

There are many other foods that researchers are still studying to determine whether they may contribute to the development of cancer or help reduce your risk of cancer. If you have questions….

There are many other foods that researchers are still studying to determine whether they may contribute to the development of cancer or help reduce your risk of cancer. If you have questions please ask the oncologists at Compass Oncology. They can help you find foods to eat that are healthy and that also taste good during treatment. 

To find out more information, contact us, or find a location near you at our East, Rose Quarter, West, or Vancouver locations in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas.