Top 24 Best Researched Cancer Fighting Foods

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Top 24 Best Researched Cancer Fighting Foods
Top 24 Most Well Researched Cancer Fighting Foods Graphic © Background photo: Pixabay (PD)

What we eat can drastically impact our health outcomes, including cancer risk. An anticancer diet is an important strategy to reduce your risk of developing the chronic disease. According to Dr. David Jockers, a doctor specializing in nutrition and natural health strategies, here are some foods that contain beneficial compounds linked to a lower risk of cancer. We fact checked his video in a big way and it came out good. We have provided 7 scientific references to support the claims!

1: Green Tea

Green tea contains antioxidants such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and quercetin, which are associated with a number of health benefits—including anticancer activity. [1][2] Drink green tea daily and to preserve its healthy compounds, be careful not to steep it in boiling water (hot but not boiling is best).

2: Blackberries

According to a study in the International Journal of Molecular Science, phenolic compounds in blackberries may help protect the skin from UV damage, aging, and cancer. [3] Blackberry juice, anyone?

3: Raspberries

Similar to blackberries, raspberries contain anthocyanins (phenolic compounds) that are believed to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in abnormal cells—hence reducing the risk of cancer. [4] The fruit is also rich in quercetin, vitamins, and minerals that help promote healthy immune function.

4: Blueberries

Blueberries are yet another group of edible berries that offer chemopreventive and therapeutic benefits in cancer prevention and treatment. [5] They contain a combination of anthocyanins that may slow cancer growth, decrease inflammation, and inhibit DNA damage.

5: Lemons

Some animal studies suggest that compounds in lemons, such as D-limonene and naringenin, may help prevent cancer development and even kill cancer cells. [6][7] Other observational studies show that people who eat citrus fruits frequently may have a lower risk of cancer. [8]

6: Onions

Onions are a culinary mainstay in most kitchens. In addition to their deep flavor, they might help protect you against cancer. According to a study published in Food Research International, “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavorable environment for cancer cells, and they disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth.” [9]

7: Kale

Compounds in kale, such as chlorophyll, selenium, fiber, beta carotene, and vitamin C, are believed to offer cancer-fighting benefits. [10][11] Consume kale with a healthy source of fat for optimal absorption of nutrients.

8: Green Leafy Vegetables

In addition to kale, add an array of green leafy vegetables to your anticancer plate. This may include arugula, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, and collards.

9: Turmeric

Research shows that curcumin in turmeric offers a number of anticancer benefits. The compound reduces the spread of cancer, helps kill cancerous cells, and reduces the growth of new blood vessels in tumors. [12][13][14]

10: Artichokes

Artichokes are rich in antioxidants such as quercetin, gallic acid, rutin, silymarin, and other healthful compounds that may offer anticancer activity. [15][16][17] The ‘vegetables’ can be boiled, grilled, steamed, roasted, or sautéed.

11: Garlic

Garlic boasts of a long list of potential health benefits. [18] Compounds in garlic, such as allicin, flavonoids, allyl sulfides, and selenium, have been shown to offer anticancer activity. [19][20][21]

12: Tomatoes

Tomatoes and other lycopene-containing foods have powerful antioxidant properties that may offer anticancer benefits. Studies suggest that a diet of whole tomato extract may protect against skin and stomach cancers. [22][23]

13: Olive Oil

Several studies show that olive oil may help reduce your cancer risk. [24] The cancer-fighting properties of olive oil may be linked to its rich content of antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation. [25]

14: Dark Chocolate

Flavonoids in chocolate have been linked to cancer-fighting properties. [26] The American Cancer Society notes that flavanols in cocoa beans, the main ingredient of dark chocolate, reduce cell damage and hence may reduce the risk of cancer development. [27]

15: Oregano

Oregano is a rich source of antioxidants and a number of other compounds that may help prevent cancer, suppress its growth and even kill cancer cells. [28][29][30]

16: Ginger

Ginger is a widely-studied superfood associated with tons of health benefits—including fighting cancer. Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger, has been shown to protect against pancreatic, gastrointestinal, breast, and ovarian cancer. [31][32][33][34]

17: Cauliflower

Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which have been shown to offer anticancer effects. [35][36] In particular, sulforaphane appears to inhibit enzymes involved in cancer growth, suppressing its development. [37]

18: Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a rich source of important nutrients such as manganese, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. The cruciferous vegetable also contains high levels of chlorophyll, a compound believed to help fight cancer. [38]

19: Avocado

Avocados are nutrient-dense fruit with several potential health benefits. It contains carotenoids, folate, and phytonutrients that may protect against cancer. [39][40] There are near-endless ways to use avocados in the kitchen—from smoothies to salads.

20: Nuts And Seeds

Regularly eating nuts and seeds may be linked to a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer. [41] One study of men with prostate cancer showed that participants who consumed 30 grams of flaxseed daily experienced slower cancer growth. [42]

21: Broccoli

Sulforaphane in broccoli may have potent anticancer properties. In one study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the plant compound reduced the number and size of breast cancer cells by as much as 75%. [43]

22: Mushrooms

Like most foods on this list, mushrooms are rich in potent antioxidants such as choline and selenium, which are believed to help prevent certain types of cancer. [44] There are several edible mushrooms with different nutrient and culinary profiles for you to explore.

23: Ginseng

Ginseng is an extensively studied adaptogen traditionally used for its potential medicinal properties. Regarding its cancer-fighting properties, ginseng contains ginsenosides that may help provide antioxidant protection, reduce inflammation, and prevent abnormal cell growth—all hallmarks of cancer development. [45][46]

24: Broccoli and Kale Sprouts

We’ve covered the anticancer properties of cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli. But did you know that you could potentially get greater concentrations of the same health-promoting compounds by consuming their sprouts? [47]

Topic: Top 24 Most Well Researched Cancer Fighting Foods
Who? Dr. David Jockers



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[2] Prior, R. L. (2003). Fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cellular oxidative damage. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(3), 570S-578S:

[3] Działo, M., Mierziak, J., Korzun, U., Preisner, M., Szopa, J., & Kulma, A. (2016). The potential of plant phenolics in prevention and therapy of skin disorders. International journal of molecular sciences, 17(2), 160:

[4] Sehitoglu, M. H., Farooqi, A. A., Qureshi, M. Z., Butt, G., & Aras, A. (2014). Anthocyanins: targeting of signaling networks in cancer cells. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 15(5), 2379-2381:

[5] Afrin, S., Giampieri, F., Gasparrini, M., Forbes-Hernandez, T. Y., Varela-López, A., Quiles, J. L., … & Battino, M. (2016). Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of edible berries: A focus on colon cancer prevention and treatment. Molecules, 21(2), 169:

[6] Mir, I. A., & Tiku, A. B. (2015). Chemopreventive and therapeutic potential of “naringenin,” a flavanone present in citrus fruits. Nutrition and cancer, 67(1), 27-42:

[7] Reicks, M. M., & Crankshaw, D. (1993). Effects of D-limonene on hepatic microsomal monooxygenase activity and paracetamol-induced glutathione depletion in mouse. Xenobiotica, 23(7), 809-817:

[8] Bae, J. M., Lee, E. J., & Guyatt, G. (2008). Citrus fruit intake and stomach cancer risk: a quantitative systematic review. Gastric Cancer, 11(1), 23-32:

[9] Murayyan, A. I., Manohar, C. M., Hayward, G., & Neethirajan, S. (2017). Antiproliferative activity of Ontario grown onions against colorectal adenocarcinoma cells. Food Research International, 96, 12-18:

[10] Woziwodzka, A., Gołuński, G., & Piosik, J. (2013). Heterocyclic aromatic amines heterocomplexation with biologically active aromatic compounds and its possible role in chemoprevention. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2013:

[11] Kunzmann, A. T., Coleman, H. G., Huang, W. Y., Kitahara, C. M., Cantwell, M. M., & Berndt, S. I. (2015). Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 102(4), 881-890:

[12] Giordano, A., & Tommonaro, G. (2019). Curcumin and cancer. Nutrients, 11(10), 2376:

[13] Astinfeshan, M., Rasmi, Y., Kheradmand, F., Karimipour, M., Rahbarghazi, R., Aramwit, P., … & Saboory, E. (2019). Curcumin inhibits angiogenesis in endothelial cells using downregulation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Food Bioscience, 29, 86-93:

[14] Vallianou, N. G., Evangelopoulos, A., Schizas, N., & Kazazis, C. (2015). Potential anticancer properties and mechanisms of action of curcumin. Anticancer research, 35(2), 645-651:

[15] Mileo, A. M., Di Venere, D., Mardente, S., & Miccadei, S. (2020). Artichoke Polyphenols Sensitize Human Breast Cancer Cells to Chemotherapeutic Drugs via a ROS-Mediated Downregulation of Flap Endonuclease 1. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2020:

[16] Hassabou, N. F., & Farag, A. F. (2020). Anticancer effects induced by artichoke extract in oral squamous carcinoma cell lines. Journal of the Egyptian National Cancer Institute, 32(1), 1-10:,its%20content%20of%20phenolic%20compounds.

[17] Salem, M. B., Affes, H., Ksouda, K., Dhouibi, R., Sahnoun, Z., Hammami, S., & Zeghal, K. M. (2015). Pharmacological studies of artichoke leaf extract and their health benefits. Plant foods for human nutrition, 70(4), 441-453:

[18] Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(1), 1:

[19] Almatroodi, S. A., Alsahli, M. A., Almatroudi, A., & Rahmani, A. H. (2019). Garlic and its active compounds: a potential candidate in the prevention of cancer by modulating various cell signalling pathways. Anticancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry-Anti-Cancer Agents), 19(11), 1314-1324:

[20] Nicastro, H. L., Ross, S. A., & Milner, J. A. (2015). Garlic and Onions: Their Cancer Prevention PropertiesGarlic and Onions: Their Cancer Prevention Properties. Cancer prevention research, 8(3), 181-189:

[21] Petrovic, V., Nepal, A., Olaisen, C., Bachke, S., Hira, J., Søgaard, C. K., … & Otterlei, M. (2018). Anticancer potential of homemade fresh garlic extract is related to increased endoplasmic reticulum stress. Nutrients, 10(4), 450:

[22] Cooperstone, J. L., Tober, K. L., Riedl, K. M., Teegarden, M. D., Cichon, M. J., Francis, D. M., … & Oberyszyn, T. M. (2017). Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1-9:

[23] Barone, D., Cito, L., Tommonaro, G., Abate, A. A., Penon, D., De Prisco, R., … & Giordano, A. (2018). Antitumoral potential, antioxidant activity and carotenoid content of two Southern Italy tomato cultivars extracts: San Marzano and Corbarino. Journal of cellular physiology, 233(2), 1266-1277:

[24] Menendez, J. A., Vellon, L., Colomer, R., & Lupu, R. (2005). Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid of olive oil, suppresses Her-2/neu (erbB-2) expression and synergistically enhances the growth inhibitory effects of trastuzumab (Herceptin™) in breast cancer cells with Her-2/neu oncogene amplification. Annals of oncology, 16(3), 359-371:

[25] Owen, R. W., Haubner, R., Würtele, G., Hull, W. E., Spiegelhaider, B., & Bartsch, H. (2004). Olives and olive oil in cancer prevention. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 319-326:

[26] Hollenberg, N. K., Fisher, N. D., & McCullough, M. L. (2009). Flavanols, the Kuna, cocoa consumption, and nitric oxide. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, 3(2), 105-112:

[27] American Cancer Society:

[28] Nishino, H., Tokuda, H., Satomi, Y., Masuda, M., Osaka, Y., Yogosawa, S., … & Yano, M. (2004). Cancer prevention by antioxidants. Biofactors, 22(1-4), 57-61:

[29] Savini, I., Arnone, R., Catani, M. V., & Avigliano, L. (2009). Origanum vulgare induces apoptosis in human colon cancer caco2 cells. Nutrition and cancer, 61(3), 381-389:

[30] Fan, K., Li, X., Cao, Y., Qi, H., Li, L., Zhang, Q., & Sun, H. (2015). Carvacrol inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human colon cancer cells. Anticancer drugs, 26(8), 813-823:

[31] Akimoto, M., Iizuka, M., Kanematsu, R., Yoshida, M., & Takenaga, K. (2015). Anticancer effect of ginger extract against pancreatic cancer cells mainly through reactive oxygen species-mediated autotic cell death. PloS one, 10(5), e0126605:

[32] Prasad, S., & Tyagi, A. K. (2015). Ginger and its constituents: role in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Gastroenterology research and practice, 2015:

[33] Martin, A. C. B., Fuzer, A. M., Becceneri, A. B., da Silva, J. A., Tomasin, R., Denoyer, D., … & Pouliot, N. (2017). [10]-gingerol induces apoptosis and inhibits metastatic dissemination of triple negative breast cancer in vivo. Oncotarget, 8(42), 72260:

[34] Pashaei-Asl, R., Pashaei-Asl, F., Gharabaghi, P. M., Khodadadi, K., Ebrahimi, M., Ebrahimie, E., & Pashaiasl, M. (2017). The inhibitory effect of ginger extract on ovarian cancer cell line; application of systems biology. Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin, 7(2), 241:

[35] Ahmed, F. A., & Ali, R. F. (2013). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of fresh and processed white cauliflower. BioMed research international, 2013:

[36] Johnson, E. J. (2002). The role of carotenoids in human health. Nutrition in clinical care, 5(2), 56-65:

[37] Clarke, J. D., Dashwood, R. H., & Ho, E. (2008). Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer letters, 269(2), 291-304:

[38] Vaňková, K., Marková, I., Jašprová, J., Dvořák, A., Subhanová, I., Zelenka, J., … & Vítek, L. (2018). Chlorophyll-mediated changes in the redox status of pancreatic cancer cells are associated with its anticancer effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2018:

[39] National Institutes of Health:

[40] Koklesova, L., Liskova, A., Samec, M., Zhai, K., Abotaleb, M., Ashrafizadeh, M., … & Kubatka, P. (2020). Carotenoids in cancer metastasis—Status quo and outlook. Biomolecules, 10(12), 1653:

[41] Wu, L., Wang, Z., Zhu, J., Murad, A. L., Prokop, L. J., & Murad, M. H. (2015). Nut consumption and risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition reviews, 73(7), 409-425:

[42] Demark-Wahnefried, W., Polascik, T. J., George, S. L., Switzer, B. R., Madden, J. F., Ruffin IV, M. T., … & Vollmer, R. T. (2008). Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 17(12), 3577-3587:

[43] Li, Y., Zhang, T., Korkaya, H., Liu, S., Lee, H. F., Newman, B., … & Sun, D. (2010). Sulforaphane, a Dietary Component of Broccoli/Broccoli Sprouts, Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem CellsSulforaphane Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem Cells. Clinical Cancer Research, 16(9), 2580-2590:

[44] National Cancer Institute:

[45] Wong, A. S., Che, C. M., & Leung, K. W. (2015). Recent advances in ginseng as cancer therapeutics: a functional and mechanistic overview. Natural product reports, 32(2), 256-272:

[46] Jin, X., Che, D. B., Zhang, Z. H., Yan, H. M., Jia, Z. Y., & Jia, X. B. (2016). Ginseng consumption and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis. Journal of ginseng research, 40(3), 269-277:

[47] Fahey, J. W., Zhang, Y., & Talalay, P. (1997). Broccoli sprouts: an exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 94(19), 10367-10372:

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