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Top 10 foods to reduce cancer risk 
Brought to you by the Columbia St. Mary's Women’s Heart Secrets Program -      


Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are all anti-cancer foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with these foods at every meal. “Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat,” according to the AICR.


Top10 choices for nutrient-rich foods that are high in natural phytochemicals are:

1. Beans
2. Berries
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
5. Garlic
6. Red Grapes
7. Green Tea
8. Tomatoes
9. Mushrooms
10. Turmeric

Beans are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber. Any kind of beans will do: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, you name it, they’re good for you. Consider adding beans to chili, minestrone soup and as a topping for salads.

Soybeans also fall into this category—so enjoy soy milk, veggie burgers, soy nuts, edamame, tofu and tempeh. Soy has been shown to reduce risk of hormonal cancers such as breast cancer, and a study released in February showed soy foods don’t interfere with chemotherapy. Soy is safe for breast cancer survivors, too.

Berries are rich in vitamin C and fiber, both of which reduce cancer risks. Strawberries are especially rich in ellagic acid, while blueberries contain anthocyanosides, both powerful antioxidants.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale are also incredibly good for you and linked to lower cancer rates in many studies. Along with fiber and vitamin C, these veggies contain cancer-fighting isothiocyanates.

Dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, lettuce, and other greens, are packed with heart-healthy potassium and magnesium. They’re also rich in cancer-fighting agents such fiber, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions, scallions, leeks and chives, are linked to lower rates of stomach and colon cancer. Plus, these veggies enhance the flavor of other foods.

Other tips:

  • Red grapes are rich in resveratrol, another potent antioxidant.
  • Green tea contains more cancer-fighting catechins than black tea.
  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Cooked mushrooms have compounds that help stimulate the immune system.
  • Turmeric, the spice that makes curry powder yellow, is a powerful antioxidant.


Jenny’s Super Curry Salad click here to print

This salad combines several cancer-fighting foods: broccoli, garlic, raisins and curry, into a delicious dish that may be served warm or cold. You can make variations by substituting cauliflower for broccoli, and dried cranberries instead of raisins, or a chopped scallion instead of garlic powder.

5 cups broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon curry powder (more if you like)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup almonds, chopped

1. Steam broccoli in ¼ cup water.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic powder and curry powder.

3. Toss broccoli with dressing.

4. Top with raisins and almonds, and serve.

Makes 12, ½-cup servings.

Nutrient Analysis per serving: 96 calories, 4 grams protein, 6 grams fat, <1 gram saturated fat, no cholesterol, 12 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 64 milligrams calcium, 1 milligram iron, 19 milligrams sodium, 276 milligrams potassium, 572 units vitamin A, 35 milligrams of vitamin C.


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