Ten foods that could help prevent cancer


A well-balanced diet and regular exercise is undoubtedly the best way to reduce your cancer risk, but there are some foods that may have more to offer when it comes to preventing the disease. Here are ten edibles that you should add to your diet.

It might not do your social life any favours, but studies have shown that garlic could help reduce the risk of bowel and stomach cancer. In a review of hundreds of studies into the role of garlic in preventing the disease, scientists at the University of North Carolina found that one or two servings a day could reduce the risk of stomach cancer by as much as 50 per cent, and cut the chances of developing colon cancer by two thirds.

Already known as a 'superfood', broccoli, along with its cruciferous cousins cabbage and sprouts, could help to prevent bowel cancer. In a six-year study at the University of Liverpool, scientists found that eating just one portion a day could reduce your risk of developing the disease by 46 per cent. It is thought the flavonoids are the key to its cancer-preventing powers, so it's best to steam the vegetable in order to keep the goodness intact.

A diet high in vitamin C has been linked to a reduced risk of stomach, colon, oesophageal, bladder, breast and cervical cancer, and grapefruit is a great source. It is thought the vitamin helps to prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrogen compounds.

Fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are powerful protectors of health. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and flavonoids, a review of clinical studies by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found that eating fruit could decrease the risk of lung, mouth, oesophageal and stomach cancer.

Scientists believe the antioxidant beta-carotene, found in abundance in carrots, may protect cell membranes from toxin damage and slow the growth of cancer cells, while phytochemicals within the vegetable could protect against mouth, oesophageal and stomach cancers. Furthermore, recent research by scientists at Zhejiang University in China suggests they could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by almost a fifth.

Oily fish
A twice-weekly portion of oily fish such as sardines and mackerel could provide protection against skin and mouth cancer, according to scientists. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London found that the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish zapped malignant cells in the skin and mouth, but left the healthy cells alone.

In a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research and Cancer Research UK, tomatoes were linked to protection against prostate cancer. Although further research is necessary to prove the link, men who munched at least ten portions a week apparently reduced their risk by 18 per cent, perhaps because of the chemical compound lycopene.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there is evidence to suggest that spinach and other dark leafy greens could protect against cancer of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, while slowing the growth of breast, skin, lung and stomach cancer cells. Researchers believe the powerful antioxidant carotenoid is the key.

Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme that helps to block the cell-damaging action of free radicals. A five-year study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona revealed that 200 micrograms of selenium per day resulted in a 39 per cent reduction in cancer deaths. Too much can be toxic, however, so it's best to stick to the recommended 75 micrograms for men or 60 micrograms for women.

Green tea
Experts believe Epigallocatechin (EGCG) in green tea can block the formation of the blood vessels needed for tumour growth, and a 2014 study by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found that it also disrupts the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells.

So while no one food can kill or prevent cancer, research suggests there is no harm in adding some of these 'superfoods' to your diet.

Have you changed your diet to reduce your risk of developing cancer? Leave your comments below...
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