If you’re looking to keep the doctor away there are plenty of ways to do it with more than just an apple a day.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), top cancer-fighting foods include tomatoes, grapes, whole grains, a variety of berries, cherries, green tea, and even coffee.

“These are foods that contain a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals that are being studied for how they lower risks for cancer,” said Alice Bender, an AICR nutritionist. “We’re really talking about plant-based foods that can be part of a healthy cancer-protected diet.”

“It isn’t just one food that’s going to make a difference- it’s more about the total diet, physical activity, and how what you eat impacts your weight. A third of cancers can be prevented by a healthy weight and diet.”

Bender told the AFRO that broccoli and other cruciferous foods—referring to the cabbage family of vegetables–are at the top of the list because they are rich in potassium, folate, and vitamin c.

“They may decrease inflammation and turn on genes that slow cancer cell growth. They may also help cancer cells do what normal cells do- which is to self-destruct, or die,” said Bender. “Cancer cells don’t have that programmed in like normal cells so if you eat foods that help cancer cells die it can be beneficial.”

She also cleared up the myth that microwaving food zaps food of nutrients and said microwaving has the potential to do just the opposite by preserving certain vitamins, such as the B and C vitamins, because there is less heat and less water used in preparation.

Fast foods and microwaveable meals are more to blame for health issues, Bender said, because high calories and sodium can lead to obesity, thus increasing the risk of developing cancer.

Other foods that help fight cancer include carrots, chili peppers, citrus fruits, legumes such as beans and peas, onions, papayas, walnuts, and watermelons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 100 different ways for cells to grow out of control, or become cancerous, and spread to different areas of the body.

Though cancer in some cases cannot be avoided because of family genetics, the CDC recommends cutting cancer risk by avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, and “excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds.”


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer