Add some of these veggies to your plate daily for added cancer fighting protection.  Many people will say they don’t like vegetables, but there are many ways to cook and flavor veggies, the possibilities are endless.  You don’t have to stick with just one kind, mix it up for a variety of flavors and colors.  Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and have many other  benefits besides cancer fighting.  It seems like vegetables could be a wonder food.   In the world full of processed foods, obesity and diseases at high rates, doing what you can to help your body stay in great health should be important and easy.  Adding vegetables to every meal is an easy way to help protect your body.  Most importantly, your body will thank you.

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A growing number of studies are discovering foods to prevent cancer, and several types of vegetables are gaining a reputation as reliable cancer fighters. On this page, we’ll outline research related to vegetables that scientists have labeled foods to prevent cancer.


Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables (brocolli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, bok choy and kale) have been identified by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) as clearly reducing the likelihood of cancer of the mouth, pharanx, larynx, esophagus and stomach. AICR issued this claim in its 2007 report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer.


Several components of cruciferous vegetables– glucosinolates, crambene, indole-3-carbinol, isothiocynates and sulforaphane– have been shown by researchers to lower cancer risk, according to the AICR. Laboratory studies have found that compounds in cruciferous vegetables stop the growth of cancer cells and tumors in the breast, lung, colon, liver, cervix and endometrium. A research project conducted in Seattle and published in 2000 found that men who ate three or more servings of crucierous vegetables a week were 41 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who at less than one serving of cruciferous vegetables a week.

This group of foods to prevent cancer also is high in fiber, which has been shown in numerous studies to be important in reducing risk for colon cancer. One cup of cooked cabbage contains 4 grams of fiber, one cup of cauliflower is 3 grams of fiber, and a cup of brocolli has 2 grams. The American Cancer Society recommends that cruciferous vegetables regularly be included in your diet.


Foods to prevent cancer – Carrots

These orange root vegetables are one of the richest sources of cartenoids (including beta-carotene), which are linked to lower risk for cancer of the colon, bladder, cervix, prostate, larynx, esophogus and breast (in post-menopausal women). Researchers have also demonstrated that the compounds in carrots can help lungs withstand the damage from smoking and may have protective properties against lung cancer.

One cancer-fighting compound in carrots, called falcarinol, is more effective when carrots are cooked whole, rather than sliced before cooking. In June 2009, scientists at Newcastle University in England released their findings that cooked whole carrots contained 25 percent more falcarinol than carrots that were chopped before cooking. Individuals who participated in a taste test also said they preferred the taste of the carrots cooked whole.


Mushrooms including Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake

For centuries, Eastern medicine has used mushrooms for healing. It turns out modern science has concluded mushrooms are indeed healers and researchers have added them to the list of foods to prevent cancer.

The traditional healing mushrooms– Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake– all contain a component called 1,3-beta-glucan, which has been shown in animal studies to slow the growth of tumors and boost the immune system. The Shiitake mushroom also contains a similar component called lentinan, which has a demonstrated ability to stop or slower tumor growth. A study released in 2006 found that White button mushrooms contain phytochemicals that are protective against breast and prostate cancer. The common white button mushroom is rich in selenium, which lowers the risk for lung, stomach, colon and prostate cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

A study published in March 2009 that involved 2,000 Chinese women showed that women who ate fresh or dried mushrooms were less likely to have breast cancer. Women who consumed at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms daily were 64 percent less likely to have breast cancer than women who ate no mushrooms. Participants who ate 4 grams of dried mushrooms every day were 47 percent less likely to have breast cancer compared to women who never ate dried mushrooms. Results were similar in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women.



Beans, lentils and peas are included in the AICR’s list of foods to prevent cancer. Beans contain saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid, which have been linked to cancer prevention. Saponins are able to stop cancer cells from reproducing and slow the growth of tumors.Protease inhibitors can slow the division of cancer cells and stop cancer cells from destroying nearby healthy cells. And phytic acid has been shown to slow the growth of tumors.

In addition, beans are one of the most fiber-rich foods available. A high-fiber diet has been clearly associated with a significantly reduced risk for colon cancer and a somewhat reduced risk for esophogus cancer. A diet high in legumes has been linked to a decreased probability of stomach and prostate cancer.


Dark, leafy green vegetables

It’s not surprising to find leafy green vegetables are cancer fighters, we’ve always been told they are good for you. The AICR says that spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard contain the cancer-inhibiting cartenoids, as well as folate and fiber.

Cartenoids, also found in carrots, are associated with lower risk for cancer of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. Laboratory projects have found that inhibit the growth of breast, skin, lung and stomach cancer.

Intake of foods high in folate can reduce the incidence in pancreatic cancer, AICR reports, and eating a diet high in fiber can lower the risk of colorectal cancer.


Garlic and onions – Foods to prevent cancer

Garlic and onions belong to the vegetable family, which also includes scallions, leeks and chives. The AICR reports that intake of allium vegetables is associated with reduced risk for stomach cancer, and eating garlic in particular may reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

Researchers have been avidly studying the healing properties of garlic and have discovered that components in garlic have stopped or slowed the growth of tumors in the prostate, bladder, colon and stomach. In lab studies, one particular garlic phytonutrient, diallyl disulfide, guarded against cancer of the skin, colon and lung. In lab studies, this component also killed leukemia cells.

Animal studies have revealed that phytochemicals in allium vegetables can slow the growth of cancer in the breast, stomach, esophogus, lung and colon.


Red Sweet Peppers

These colorful veggies have significant amounts of beta-cryptoxanthin, a cartenoid that has been linked to lower levels of lung cancer. In January 2004, the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention reported that individuals who ate the most foods with beta-cryptoxanthin reduced their lung cancer risk by more than 30%, compared to those who ate the least of the cartenoid.



This vegetable has been identified as one of the foods to prevent cancer, specifically prostate cancer. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which gives them their red color. AICR reports that eating foods high in lycopene can protect against cancer of the prostate. Animal studies have shown that comsumption of tomato components decreased prostate cancer risk. A Harvard University study involving 47,000 men discovered that men who ate 10 servings of tomato products a week (tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice, pizza) developed 45 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer than men who ate fewer than two servings of tomato products weekly.

Tomato components, including lycopene, have also been shown in lab studies to halt cancer cells in the breast and lung.


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