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Foods That Help Prevent Cancer

The right combination of foods can protect you against cancer

  • Nuts, berries, greens and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet

    What the Science Says

    En español | Researchers say about a third of all cancers could be prevented if we maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet and exercise. And emerging science is telling us more and more about what combination of foods appears to offer the most protection against cancer.

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  • Blueberries and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet


    Fruits such as strawberries and blueberries help protect against mouth and neck cancers. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which can protect cells from damage, reports the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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  • Tomatoes and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet


    Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which helps prevent prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes — in tomato sauce and paste—and small amounts of fat, such as olive oil, improve lycopene absorption and enhance its protective benefits.

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  • Whole grains and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet

    Good Grains

    Whole grain foods reduce your risk of colon cancer. Studies show that getting your fiber from whole grains rather than fruits and vegetables appears to be more protective. Check ingredients on the label and buy 100 percent whole wheat breads. Other good grain sources: brown rice, whole wheat pastas, oatmeal and quinoa.

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  • Squash and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet

    Butternut Squash

    Red-orange fruits and vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe, are rich in beta-carotene, which helps protect against mouth cancers. It's best to get your beta-carotene from foods. One study showed that high doses of beta-carotene in supplements actually increased lung cancer risk.

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  • Coffee and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet


    Coffee — both regular and decaf — appears to lower the risk of endometrial, prostate and colon cancers. One large study published this spring found that coffee drinkers lived longer than those who didn't drink coffee.

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  • Limit grilled and red meats
    Renée Comet

    Limit Grilled and Red Meats

    Red meat, which includes pork, has been linked to colon and other cancers. Grilling meat over high heat, especially charring it, releases cancer-causing agents. Processed meats also are linked to several kinds of cancers.

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  • Grilled Veggies
    Renée Comet

    Go for Grilled Veggies

    Unlike meat, vegetables can be safely cooked on the grill: Carcinogens are not formed when veggies are exposed to high heat. Grilled vegetables are a healthy, delicious way to increase plant-based foods in your diet.

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  • Salmon and other foods that help fight cancer

    Fatty Fish

    Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great source of healthy protein and fats. Replacing red or processed meats with healthy proteins such as those found in salmon is a great way to protect yourself from both cancer and heart disease.

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  • Kale and other foods that help fight cancer
    Renée Comet

    Green Leafy Goodness

    Kale, along with spinach, romaine lettuce and its other green leafy cousins, is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients such as lutein and flavonoids. These nutrients appear to protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research.

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  • New American Diet plate of food fight cancer

    A Colorful Plate

    For the best anticancer diet, experts recommend filling two-thirds of your plate with "plant-based" foods — veggies, fruits, whole grains and beans. The easiest way to do this is to think colors. Your plate should have a rainbow of them. The more colors, the more nutrients, the healthier you. And the best thing: These are not just healthy foods; they're delicious, too.

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