Nutrition and Health

Best foods to reduce cancer risk
By Melissa Bess

Healthy eating and physical activity are two important ways to reduce risk for many diseases, improving quality of life, manage weight, and improve overall well-being. Healthy eating, especially focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy, and plant foods, is one way to prevent various diseases, such as cancer. Recently, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) released a list of smart food choices that can help prevent cancer. Those foods include:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and turnips)
  • Cherries
  • Coffee
  • Cranberries
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, and Swiss chard)
  • Dry beans and peas
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic and other allium vegetables (onions, scallions, leeks, and chives)
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes and grape juice
  • Green tea
  • Soy foods
  • Winter squash (including pumpkins)
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Whole grains

Other possible foods that are still being researched include: carrots, blackberries, raspberries, mushrooms, nuts, strawberries, sweet potatoes, papayas, pomegranates, citrus fruits, chili peppers, melons, and strawberries.

Most of these foods are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients. They may not only prevent various types of cancer, but they also may have many other health benefits. If you are already eating some of these foods, keep it up. If there are some on the list that you do not currently eat, try a new recipe using them. These foods can boost health in many ways.

If you have questions, please contact Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Call the Camden County Extension Center at 346-2644, stop by our office at 44 Roofener Street, Camdenton, or email Melissa at