It has long been known that what you eat can drastically affect many aspects of your health, including your risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
In particular, studies have shown that the development of cancer can be heavily influenced by diet.
There are many fruits and vegetables that contain beneficial compounds that could help decrease the growth of cancer. Five of these are listed below:
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that are thought by some to have potent anticancer properties.
One study showed that sulforaphane reduced the size and number of breast cancer cells. An animal study determined that treating mice with sulforaphane helped kill off prostate cancer cells and reduced tumor volume by more than 50%.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have also been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
The available research hasn’t looked directly at how broccoli may affect cancer in humans, so more studies are needed. But eating more broccoli and other fresh fruits and vegetables can be beneficial to your health in many ways.
Many studies have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer. One study analysis looked at the results of five separate studies and concluded that eating carrots may reduce the risk of stomach cancer by up to 26%.
A different study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with 18% lower odds of developing prostate cancer.
It is a good idea to try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or delicious side dish just a few times per week to increase your intake and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.
These studies may show an association between carrot consumption and cancer, but they don’t all account for other factors that may play a role. Some of the studies have found an association between carrot consumption and a decreased risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
3. Citrus Fruits
Eating citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, lime and grapefruits has been associated with a lower risk of cancer in some studies.
One study found that participants who ate a higher amount of citrus fruits had a lower risk of developing cancers of the digestive and upper respiratory tracts. Another review looking at nine studies also found that a greater intake of citrus fruits was linked to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer.
A review of 14 studies showed that a high intake, which included at least three servings per week, of citrus fruit reduced the risk of stomach cancer by 28%.
These studies suggest that including a few servings of citrus fruits in your diet each week may lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Keep in mind that these studies don’t account for other factors that may be involved. More studies are needed on how citrus fruits specifically affect cancer development.
Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes that is responsible for its vibrant red color as well as its anticancer properties.
Studies from several sources have found that an increased intake of lycopene and tomatoes could lead to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
A review of 17 studies found that a higher intake of raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes and lycopene were all associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
An additional study of 47,365 people found that a greater intake of tomato sauce was linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
While these studies show there may be an association between eating tomatoes and a reduced risk of prostate cancer, they don’t account for other factors that could be involved.
And while more studies are needed, some have found that a higher intake of tomatoes and lycopene could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Allicin is the active component in garlic, and it is a compound that has been shown to kill off cancer cells in multiple test-tube studies. A few studies have found an association between garlic intake and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
One study that involved 471 men showed that a higher intake of garlic was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Based on these findings, including 2–5 grams (approximately one clove) of fresh garlic into your diet per day may help people take advantage of garlic’s health-promoting properties.
However, more studies are needed to examine whether other factors play a role.
Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has been shown to kill cancer cells in test-tube studies. Studies have found that eating more garlic could lead to decreased risks of stomach, prostate and colorectal cancers.