Top 5 Cancer Fighting Foods

By Dr. Meenu Walia in Medical Oncology , Nutrition And Dietetics , Cancer Care / Oncology

Nov 08 , 2020 | 6 min read


Cancer is recognized as a major illness affecting millions of people every year around the world. A cancer diagnosis can be shattering to patients, their families and friends. It is indeed one of the hardest times for people who are suffering from cancer.

However, one can indeed fight the cancer battle and come out as a winner. Apart from the mandatory doctor visits, surgeries and chemotherapy, there are undoubtedly other things patients can incorporate into their daily lives to fight against cancer.

An anti-cancer diet is an important strategy that one can combine along with treatment to improve the chances of eliminating cancer. As one of the best cancer treatment hospitals in Delhi, we at Max Healthcare recommend healthy nourishment for patients battling cancer.

Checkout: Cancer Introduction

Top 5 Effective Cancer-Fighting Foods

According to various researchers, a healthy diet can increase the chances of surviving cancer. Since food is something people eat multiple times in a day, a diet rich in the foods mentioned below has a constant impact on the body.

The top five cancer-fighting foods should be included in the patient's diet.

  1. Cruciferous vegetables

    Beet, radish, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and mustard greens are some of the vegetables that belong to the Brassicaceae family of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including various carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They contain fiber too.

    Furthermore, cruciferous vegetables include a group of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds are responsible for cruciferous veggies' strong scent and bitter flavor.

  2. Green Leafy Vegetables

    Leafy green vegetables contain a large number of potential chemopreventive compounds. Chlorophyll and its derivatives can scavenge aflatoxins and other mutagens by the complex formation and are protective against carcinogens in various animal and human models.

    They also have antioxidant and immune-modulatory properties. Folate is essential for DNA synthesis and methylation and is particularly needed by rapidly proliferating tissues.

    For cancer prevention, dietary folate may be preferable to the much more stable folic acid used for fortification.

    Of the various green vegetables, spinach and perilla have been extensively studied. Spinach is rich in antioxidants and its glycolipid fractions inhibit cancer cell proliferation and suppress tumors in mouse models.

  3. Garlic

    Garlic (Allium sativum L) is one of the oldest plants, which are grown for its dietary and medicinal values. This amazing plant is endowed with various pharmacological properties such as anti-microbial, anti-arthritic, antithrombotic, anti-tumor, hypoglycemic, and hypolipidemic activities.

    Among the various beneficial pharmacological effects of garlic, its anti-cancer activity is probably the most studied. Consuming garlic provides powerful protection against the risk of cancer.

    Given the multitarget effects and lack of significant toxicity, it is likely that some active metabolites of garlic play a critical role in killing cancer cells.

    Garlic contains several bioactive molecules with anti-cancer properties, including diallyl trisulfide, allicin, diallyl disulfide, diallyl sulfide, and Allylmercaptan.

    The effects of various products derived from garlic, its phytocompounds, and nanoformulations have been evaluated against

    Garlic extract, its phytocompounds, and its nanoformulations have been shown to inhibit various stages of cancer including initiation, promotion, and progression. In addition, these bioactive metabolites alter lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide synthase activity, nuclear factor, epidermal growth factor receptor, and protein kinase, Cell cycle and survival signaling.

    Allicin, an anti-inflammatory ingredient in garlic, is known to shut off the blood supply to tumors. It contains active ingredients based on tryptophan, selenium, and sulfur, which are responsible for killing cancer cells.

  4. Tomatoes

    They are high in lycopene (a type of carotenoid), which is responsible for the red color of tomatoes. Studies show that lycopene can help prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.

    The powerful antioxidant may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

    In addition, there is some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon, rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and throat may be reduced by increased lycopene intake. Lycopene is a fat-soluble compound, meaning consuming it with fat (oil) increases its bioavailability.

    Therefore, you'll get more lycopene from fresh tomatoes in your salad if you pair it with a full-fat dressing rather than a low-fat dressing.

  5. Berries

    Dietary habits, including regular consumption of certain foods such as berries and bioactive compounds, may confer specific molecular and cellular protection in addition to the general epidemiologically observed benefits of plants.

    Food intake (lower obesity rate and chronic disease risk), further improves health.

    Berries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Scientists have shown great interest in berries for their antioxidant properties and possible health benefits.

    Berries are rich in phytonutrients and are anti-cancer.

    Although all types of berries are packed with phytonutrients, blackberries contain a large number of phytonutrients called anthocyanins.

    These anthocyanins inhibit the development of premalignant cells and halt the creation of blood vessels that feed tumors. They are in charge of lowering the incidence of cutaneous, esophagus, oral, and colon cancer.

Other Effective Cancer-Fighting Foods

  1. Carrots

    Eating carrots has been linked in certain studies to a lower risk of stomach, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.

  2. Beans

    Beans are high in fiber, which may be protective against colorectal cancer. Human and animal studies have found that a higher intake of beans could reduce the risk of colorectal tumors and colon cancer.

  3. Cinnamon

    Several studies have revealed that cinnamon extract may have anticancer effects and may aid in the reduction of tumor growth and spread.

  4. Nuts

    Some studies have found that an increased intake of nuts may decrease the risk of cancer. According to research, certain types of nuts, such as walnuts, may also be associated with a lower risk of cancer.

  5. Olive oil

    Several studies have shown that a higher intake of olive oil may be associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer.

  6. Turmeric

    Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that has been shown to reduce the growth of many types of cancer and lesions in human studies.

  7. Citrus Fruits

    Studies have found that a higher intake of citrus fruits could decrease the risk of certain types of cancers, including pancreatic and stomach cancers, along with cancers of the digestive and upper respiratory tracts.

  8. Flaxseed

    Some studies have found that flaxseed may reduce cancer growth in breast and prostate cancers. It is also high in fiber, which may help prevent colorectal cancer.

  9. Fatty Fish

    Fish intake may reduce the risk of cancer. Fatty fish provides vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are thought to protect against cancer.

  10. Grapes

    Grape-seeds are filled with the super-antioxidant activity. This anti-cancer substance may provide significant defense against some cancers.

  11. Green Tea

    Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and may be an important part of an anti-cancer diet. Green tea is among cancer-fighting food that may help prevent liver, breast, pancreatic, lung, esophageal, and skin cancer.

Supplements and Medications

The term "anti-cancer vitamins" can be deceptive. Some supplements may help reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer or support the body during cancer treatment, but no supplement can replace standard cancer therapies.

Anyone considering taking vitamins and supplements while undergoing cancer treatment should consult their doctor first, as some may interfere with other medications or produce negative effects.


You need to see your oncologist (cancer specialist) to learn how much of these cancer-fighting foods you should be eating so you can help fight cancer.

Eating foods like nuts, mushrooms, avocado, beets, beans, legumes, ginger, sunflower, flax, sesame, and pumpkin seeds can help you fight cancer risk.

An Oncologist points out that a healthy diet is a crucial weapon not only in the fight against cancer but also in reducing the risk of various diseases.