Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2014. It has been updated and republished in September 2019.
You know how important food is for maintaining your daily health. The vitamins and minerals found in food are crucial for the proper functioning of your body and every system it contains.
It has been proven time and again that what food you consume has a direct impact on your total body health. Adding the right fuel to other healthy lifestyle choices – such as regular exercise and plenty of water – will increase your chances of living longer and stronger years.
Your Food as Medicine
New studies focused on the benefits of using food as medicine have made fascinating discoveries in the last decade. The results from prestigious labs all over the world show us that not only can you improve your general health to prevent disease… you can actively fight disease… with food.
In fact, there are specific cancer-fighting foods that you can start adding to your diet today!
You read that right. There are natural foods available in your local market that target and destroy cancer cells and cancer-causing cells.
Top 7 Cancer-Fighting Foods
- Raw Garlic
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Green Tea
- Leafy Greens
- Cooked Tomatoes
#1. Raw Garlic
Along with the other relatives in the allium family – such as onions, leeks, and shallots – garlic contains powerful antioxidants like allicin, proven to remove free radicals from your body. It also boosts immunity, is nutrient dense, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improves brain function, and is a natural detoxifier. Chop or crush garlic, allow to rest, then use it raw or in your favorite recipes.
Known as a cruciferous vegetable – related to kale, cauliflower, and cabbage – broccoli is high in phytochemicals and the antioxidants glucoraphanin and indole-3-carbinol, which have been proven to reduce the risk of cervical, breast, gastric, and prostate cancers. Naturally anti-inflammatory, good for your bones and heart, and nutrient dense (without the calories), broccoli is a great addition to a healthy eating plan. Since phytochemicals are heat-sensitive enzymes, the benefits of broccoli are best raw or blanched.
#3. Green Tea
The catechins found in green tea have made it a superstar in the cancer-fighting food research. They are believed to be more powerful than vitamin C in fighting free radical damage. In multiple lab studies, this delicious beverage has been shown to shrink existing tumors and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Many experts suggest green tea daily as a natural cancer preventative. As an added benefit, it also reduces your risk of heart disease and lowers your blood pressure.
Always delicious, there are now more reasons for you to eat these delicate fruits. Researchers found that strawberries slow down the growth of cancer cells, protect your body from heart disease, lower inflammation, prevent memory loss, and help you burn your body’s fat stores. Strawberries and other dark-colored berries – such as black raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, and, goji berries – are packed with flavor so you won’t even notice how healthy they are.
Though this leafy green is low in calories, it offers incredible health benefits with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to stay strong (just like Popeye). It contains bio-chemicals called flavonoids – at least thirteen discovered so far – that soak up damaging free radicals and flushes them out. Particularly rich in folate and fiber – two elements that doctors believe are essential to cancer prevention – make spinach one of our favorite cancer-fighting foods.
It’s all about the lycopene – the antioxidant that causes the red color of tomatoes – a powerful antioxidant known for preventing the formation of certain cancers. They also lower your risk of heart disease and are naturally anti-inflammatory. The secret to getting the full benefits of tomatoes lies in the preparation. Lycopene is released when tomatoes are cooked. Be sure to get these fresh and organic!
This well-loved vegetable is a wonderful source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that aids in preventing cell damage and may slow the growth of cancer cells. They contain falcarinol and falcarindiol – natural pesticides in the vegetable that scientists believe are the reason for their cancer-fighting abilities. Of course, they’re good for your vision, skin, and as a natural detoxifier as well.
There are many cancer-fighting foods that we explore in more detail but these seven foods are a great place to start. Available year-round, inexpensive, and easy to find at your local store, these foods can help start you on the road to a better diet. And remember… always buy organic!
Eating right doesn’t have to be horrible. You won’t regret taking this step in the right direction.