What you eat can dramatically affect many aspects of your health, including the risk of developing cancer, chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Many studies have shown that cancer development, in particular, is closely related to the food you eat. It is no secret to anyone that many foods contain beneficial compounds that could help slow the development of cancer. There are also several studies that show that a higher intake of certain foods could be associated with a lower risk of suffering from this condition.
This article will deepen and analyze 13 foods that can reduce the development of cancer according to studies.
Table of Contents
Can broccoli prevent cancer development?
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables and that can have potent anti-cancer properties. Including broccoli weekly as a companion in some meals can give you some benefits to fight cancers. A test tube study showed that sulforaphane reduced the size and amount of breast cancer cells by up to 75%. Similarly, an animal study found that treating mice with sulforaphane helped eliminate prostate cancer cells and reduced tumor volume by more than 50%. Some studies have also found that increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, may be related to a lower risk of developing colorectal cancers. However, it should be borne in mind that the available research has not directly analyzed the effects of broccoli on the development of cancer in humans. Rather, it has been limited to laboratory, animal and observational studies, which investigated the effects of cruciferous vegetables or the effects of a specific compound on broccoli, therefore, more studies are needed.
Summary: Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown in studies in test tubes and in animals that eliminates cancereous cells and reduces tumor size. An increased intake of cruciferous vegetables may also be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Can carrots prevent the development of cancer?
Several studies have found that including carrots in the daily diet is related to a lower risk of certain types of cancer. For example, an investigation analyzed the results of five studies and concluded that eating carrots can reduce the risk of stomach cancer by up to 26%.
“Another study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with an 18% lower chance of developing prostate cancer”.
One study analyzed the diets of 1,266 participants with and without lung cancer. He found that current smokers who did not eat carrots were three times more likely to develop lung cancers, compared to participants who ate carrots more than once a week. Try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or a delicious companion a few times a week, and thus potentially reduce the risk of cancer. Even so, remember that these studies show a relationship between carrot consumption and cancerous cells, but do not take into account other factors that can play an important role.
Summary: Some studies have found a relationship between carrot consumption and decreased risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
Can beans prevent the development of cancer?
Beans are rich in fiber , which, according to some studies, can help protect against colorectal cancers. In fact, several studies have found that a higher intake of beans can reduce the risk of such a condition. One study followed 1,905 people with a history of colorectal tumors, found that those who consumed more cooked dried beans tended to have a lower risk of tumor recurrence. An animal study also found that feeding mice with black beans or white beans, after inducing colon cancer, blocked the development of cancer cells by up to 75%. Based on these results, eating a few servings of beans each week may increase fiber intake, and in turn, help reduce the risk of developing cancers. However, current research is limited to animal studies and studies showing association, but not causation. More studies are needed to examine this in humans specifically.
Summary: Beans are rich in fiber, which can protect against colorectal cancer. Studies in humans and animals have found that increased intake of beans could reduce the risk of colorectal tumors and colon cancer.
Do berries help prevent the development of cancer?
Berries have a high anthocyanin content, are plant pigments that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a lower risk of developing cancer. In one study, 25 people with colorectal cancer were treated with cranberry extract for seven days; this reduced the growth of cancer cells by 7%. Another small study administered lyophilized black raspberries (a process in which they are frozen and thawed, preserved under vacuum and at low atmospheric pressure), to patients with oral cancers, and showed that the levels of certain markers associated with cancer development were decreasing. An animal study found that feeding mice with lyophilized black raspberries reduced the formation of esophageal tumors by up to 54% and decreased the number of tumors in general by up to 62%. Similarly, another animal study showed that by giving mice an extract of berries, it was found that they prevented the formation of several cancer biomarkers. Based on these findings, including a portion or two of berries in your diet every day can help inhibit the development of cancers. It is important to keep in mind that these studies have been carried out in animals, and are observational, which only analyze the effects of a concentrated dose of berry extract. More research is required in people.
Summary: Some studies in test tubes and in animals have found that berry compounds can decrease growth and prevent the development of certain types of cancer.
Can cinnamon prevent the development of cancer?
Cinnamon is very popular for its health benefits, it can reduce blood sugar and relieve inflammation, it has been proven through studies that can prevent the development of cancer by mitigating cancer cells. Studies in test tubes and in animals have found that cinnamon can help block the spread of cancer cells. A test tube study found that cinnamon extract could decrease the spread of cancer cells causing mitigation. Another test tube study showed that cinnamon essential oil suppressed the growth of cancer cells in the head and neck, and also significantly reduced tumor size. An animal study also showed that cinnamon extract promotes the elimination of tumor cells, and also decreases the number of tumors that grew and spread. Including half or a teaspoon (2-4 grams) of cinnamon in your diet per day can be beneficial to prevent cancer; in addition, it can also provide you with other benefits. It is important to note that you must have the amount of cinnamon you consume under control, as too much cinnamon can cause certain side effects. However, more studies are needed to understand how cinnamon can affect the development of cancer in humans.
Summary: Studies in the test tube and in animals have found that cinnamon extract may have anti-cancer properties and help decrease the growth and spread of tumors. Even so, more research in humans is needed.
Can nuts prevent the development of cancer?
Several investigations have found that eating nuts may be related to a lower risk of certain types of cancer. For example, one study analyzed the diets of 19,386 people; found that eating more nuts was associated with a lower risk of cancer death. Another study followed 30,708 participants for a maximum of 30 years; found that eating nuts regularly was associated with a minimal risk of developing colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer. Other studies have found that certain nuts are probably even more efficient in preventing the development of cancer. For example, Brazil nuts have a high selenium content, which can help protect against lung cancer in those with low selenium levels. Similarly, an animal study showed that feeding mice with nuts, decreased the rate of spread of breast cancer cells by 80% and reduced the number of tumors by 60%. These results suggest that adding a serving of nuts to your diet every day may reduce the risk of developing cancer in the future. Even so, further studies in humans are needed to conclude whether the nuts themselves are responsible for this association, or if other factors are involved.
Summary: Some studies have found that a higher intake of nuts can decrease the risk of cancer. Research shows that some specific types of nuts such as Brazil nuts and walnuts may also be related to a lower risk of cancer.
7. Olive Oil:
Does olive oil help prevent the development of cancer?
Olive oil is loaded with health benefits, so it is not surprising that it is one of the staple foods of the Mediterranean diet; Several studies have found that a higher intake of olive oil can help protect against various types of cancer, although more research is needed. A massive review of 19 studies showed that people who consumed a greater amount of olive oil had a lower risk of developing breast cancer and cancer in the digestive system, compared to people who had a lower intake. Another study that analyzed cancer rates in 28 countries worldwide found that areas with a higher intake of olive oil had lower rates of colorectal cancer. Swapping other oils for olive oil in your diet is a simple way to take advantage of its health benefits. You can sprinkle it on salads and cooked vegetables, or try using it in meat, fish or chicken marinades. Although these studies show that there may be an association between olive oil intake and cancer, other factors are likely to be involved. More studies are needed to analyze the direct effects of olive oil on cancer in people.
Summary: Several studies have shown that a higher intake of olive oil may be associated with a reduction in the risk of certain types of cancer.
Does turmeric prevent the development of cancer?
Turmeric is a spice known for its health-enhancing properties. The curcumin, its active ingredient is a chemical with antiinflammatory, antioxidant and even anticancer effects. One study analyzed the effects of curcumin in 44 patients with colon lesions that could have become cancerous. After 30 days, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the amount of lesions present by 40%. In a test tube study, curcumin was also found to decrease the spread of colon cancer cells, by targeting a specific enzyme related to cancer development. Another test tube study showed that curcumin helped eliminate cancer cells in the head and neck. It has also been shown in other test tube studies, that curcumin is effective in slowing the growth of lung, breast and prostate cancer cells. For best results, you can include at least half to three teaspoons (1-3 grams) of ground turmeric per day. It is advisable to use it as a spice to add flavor to food, combining it with black pepper can help increase its flavor.
Summary: Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that has been demonstrated through studies with test tubes and in humans, which reduces the growth of many types of cancer and lesions.
9. Citrus Fruits:
Can citrus fruits prevent the development of cancers?
Several studies encourage that eating citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges has been associated with a lower risk of cancers. A large study found that participants who ate a greater amount of citrus fruits had a lower risk of developing cancers of the digestive tract and upper respiratory tract. On the other hand, a review of nine studies found that a higher citrus intake was related to a lower risk of pancreatic cancers. Finally, a review of 14 studies showed that a high intake (or at least three servings per week) of citrus fruits reduced the risk of stomach cancer by 28%. These studies suggest that including some portions of citrus in your diet each week may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers. Keep in mind that these studies do not take into account other factors that may be involved. More studies are needed to know specifically how citrus fruits affect this development.
Summary: Studies have found that an increased intake of citrus fruits may decrease the risk of certain types of cancer, including pancreatic and stomach cancers, along with cancers of the digestive tract and upper respiratory tract.
Can flaxseed prevent cancer development?
Flaxseed has a high content of fiber and heart- healthy fats, according to studies, flaxseed helps prevent the development of colorectal and mitigate cancer cells; including flaxseed in your diet can have healthy results. In one study, 32 women with breast cancer received a flaxseed bun per day or a placebo for more than a month. At the end of the study, the flaxseed group showed a decrease in the levels of specific markers linked to tumor growth, as well as reduced the number of killer cells. In another study, 161 men with prostate disease were treated with flaxseed, which reduced both the growth of disease and the number of cancerous cells. Flaxseed is rich in fiber, and other studies have shown that it helps protect against colorectal cancer. You can try adding a tablespoon (10 grams) of ground flaxseed in your diet every day, mixing it in smoothies, sprinkling on cereal and yogurt, or adding it to your favorite baked desserts.
Summary: Some studies have found that flaxseed can reduce the growth of breast and prostate cancers. It also has a high fiber content, which may decrease the risk of colorectal cancers.
Do tomatoes prevent the development of cancer?
Tomatoes are full of many nutrients, they also have lycopene , it is a compound that attributes the vibrant red color to tomatoes, its biggest benefit is that it has anti-cancer properties. Several studies have found that a higher intake of tomatoes, regardless of their presentation, either raw, in sauce, or as you wish, could reduce the risk of prostate cancers. To increase your consumption of tomatoes in your diet, you can add them to sandwiches, salads, sauces or pasta dishes. Even so, remember that these studies show that there may be an association between eating tomatoes and reducing the risk of prostate cancer, but they do not take into account other factors that might be involved.
Summary: Some studies have found that an increased intake of tomatoes and lycopene could reduce the risk of prostate disease. However, more studies are needed to reach more specific conclusions.
Can garlic prevent the development of cancer?
Garlic gives you many benefits for your health. The active component in garlic is allicin, it has been demonstrated by multiple test tube studies that this compound eliminates cancer cells. Several studies have found an association between garlic consumption and a lower risk of certain types of cancerous cells. A study of 543,220 participants found that those who ate many Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions, among others, had a lower risk of stomach cancer compared to those who rarely consumed them. A study of 471 men showed that a higher garlic intake was associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Another study found that participants who ate a lot of garlic, as well as fruits and vegetables, were less likely to develop colorectal tumors. However, this study did not isolate the effects of garlic. Based on these findings, including 2 to 5 grams (approximately one clove) of fresh garlic in your daily diet can help you take advantage of its health-friendly properties. However, despite the promising results that show an association between garlic and a lower risk of cancer, more studies are needed to examine whether other factors play a role.
Summary: Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has been shown to kill these cells. Studies have found that eating more garlic can reduce the risks of stomach, prostate and colorectal cancer.
13. Fatty Fish:
Does fatty fish prevent the development of cancer?
Fatty fish, unlike other types of meat, provides you with large amounts of Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids , which are believed to be responsible for the properties of fatty fish to prevent the development of cancer. A large study showed that higher fish intake was associated with a lower risk of this tumor of the digestive tract. Another study that followed 478,040 adults found that eating more fish decreased the risk of developing colorectal cancer, while red and processed meats increased the risk of suffering from such disease. In particular, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies contain important nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer. For example, it is believed that having adequate levels of vitamin D protects against and reduces the risk of cancer. Similarly, it is believed that omega-3 fatty acids block the development of the disease. You can adopt two servings of fatty fish per week to obtain an abundant dose of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and thus maximize the potential health benefits of these nutrients. Even so, more research is needed to determine how the consumption of fatty fish can directly influence the risk of cancer in humans.
Summary: Fish consumption may decrease the risk of cancer. Fatty fish contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, two nutrients that are believed to protect against this disease.
As new research emerges, the idea that your health depends primarily on what you eat, including the risks of getting this disease, becomes increasingly clear. Although there are many foods that have the potential to reduce the spread and development of cancer cells, current research is limited to laboratory, observational and test tube studies. More studies are needed to understand how these foods can directly affect the development of this disease in humans. Meanwhile, it is a safe event that a diet rich in whole foods, along with a healthy lifestyle, will improve many aspects of your health overall.