When it comes to cancer, it does not discriminate against healthy bodies and non-healthy bodies. Let’s start there. There is no food out there that will prevent cancer, but there are foods that can help reduce your risk and help your body fight whatever may come. "An excellent way to add variety to your cancer-fighting food list is to make sure you include a variety of colors," says celebrity nutritionist and health coach Karin Adoni Ben-David. "You can get the most protection by eating a wide range of plant foods. Aim to build your diet around a variety of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, nuts, beans, and healthy fats. At the same time, try to limit the amount of processed and fried foods, unhealthy fats, sugars, and refined carbs you consume." What else can you do to be a cancer-fighting machine? Ben-David tells us.
Veggies and Fruits That Will Up Your Antioxidant Intake
"Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body," explains Ben-David. "Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. Our body has its own antioxidant defenses to keep free radicals in check. Antioxidants can also be found in foods, especially in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based whole foods. Several vitamins, such as vitamins E and C, are effective antioxidants."
Here are some foods that are rich in nutrients known as antioxidants that boost your immune system and help protect against cancer cells:
Vegetables, such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash containing carotenoids may reduce the risk of lung, mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and plays a crucial role in keeping your digestive system clean and healthy. "It helps keep cancer-causing compounds moving through your digestive tract before they can create harm,” says Ben-David. "Eating a diet high in fiber may help prevent colorectal cancer and other common digestive system cancers, including stomach, mouth, and pharynx."
Avoid trans-fat or partially hydrogenated oil found in packaged and fried foods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, french fries, fried chicken, and hard taco shells, says Ben-David. These are, sadly, not great for you. (You already knew that; we just had to write it to get it through.)
Some healthy fats include unsaturated fats from fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocados, which are superstars all around for body health. Also, omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds can fight inflammation and support brain and heart health, explains Ben-David.
Two Don'ts: Eating a Ton of Processed Meats and Refined Sugars
Sorry, everyone. "There's a link between the risk of cancer and eating processed meat like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, pepperoni, and salami," says Ben-David. "This could be due to the nitrate preservatives or other substances used in the processing of the meat." As for sugar? "I know this is hard, but sugar is a drug. So sugary soft drinks, sweetened cereals, white bread, processed snacks, and sweets should be avoided," says Ben-David.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.