The Power of Food to Fight Cancer 

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by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

If we implement the scientific information we now have at our fingertips, we can win the war on cancer. We are not powerless against cancer; it is not determined primarily by genetics or chance. The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that 35 percent of all cancers are preventable through healthy lifestyle measures; I propose that we could prevent far more than 50 percent of cancers if Americans would embrace a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet.

As I describe in my book Super Immunity, G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds) are the foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancer effects. These foods help to prevent the cancerous transformation of normal cells, and keep the body ready to attack any precancerous or cancerous cells that may arise.

G – Greens

Cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals inhibit a wide range of cancer-promoting cellular processes, including angiogenesis; the angiogenesis inhibitors found in cruciferous vegetables prevent new blood vessel growth, which is needed for tumor growth. Eating cruciferous vegetables regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

B – Beans 

Beans are unique because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch; carbohydrates not broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber and resistant starch reduce the total number of calories absorbed from beans, reduce cholesterol levels, and are metabolized by healthy gut bacteria, leading to protection from colon cancer; eating beans, peas or lentils at least twice a week has been said to be linked to a 50 percent drop in colon cancer risk. High bean intake is also associated with a decreased risk of esophageal, stomach, kidney and breast cancer.

O – Onions

Onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, chives and scallions not only lend great flavor to meals, these vegetables are known for their characteristic, eye-irritating organosulfur compounds, which help to prevent cancer. Eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with reduced risk of digestive cancers. These vegetables also contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that contribute to their anti-cancer properties.

M – Mushrooms

In one Chinese study, women that ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms (about one button mushroom) each day had a 64 percent decrease in breast cancer risk. Phytochemicals from many types of mushrooms have shown anti-cancer effects against stomach, colorectal and prostate cancer as well. Plus, white, cremini and Portobello mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors—compounds that reduce the production of estrogen and are thought to protect against breast cancer. Keep in mind that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: Several raw mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking reduces agaritine content.

B – Berries (and pomegranate)

Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer, protect the brain against oxidative damage, and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berries and pomegranate are anti-angiogenic foods, and have anti-inflammatory effects that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases. Pomegranate (similar to mushrooms) is one of the few foods that contain natural aromatase inhibitors—substances that inhibit estrogen production, which may reduce breast cancer risk.

S – Seeds  

Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts. Seeds and nuts are also a helpful food for weight loss. Some seeds—flax, chia and sesame, in particular—are rich in lignans, plant estrogens that protect against breast cancer; in one fascinating study, women were given flaxseeds daily after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and reduced growth and increased death of their tumor cells was found after just four to five weeks.

Build a strong nutritional foundation: base your diet on nutrient-rich plant foods. 

Plant phytochemicals work synergistically to boost immune function and prevent cancer from developing. There is an additional perk too: These same foods protect against heart disease, diabetes, and other devastating yet common chronic illnesses.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D., is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Fuhrman is the president of the Nutritional Research Foundation. He is also a member of the Dr. Oz Show Medical Advisory Board. He will be speaking at The Real Truth About Health Conference, which will be held Feb. 2-11, 2018, at the Long Island Hilton, in Melville (

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