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Cancer Nutrition Network for Texans

Top 15 Foods to Include in Your Cancer Prevention Diet


Waste as little as possible of what Mother Nature created, eating the peel and whole food whenever you can and making sure you don't overcook the food. Science supports the factor that food is not a medicine. It is important that you have a consistent and well balanced diet. A healthy dose of common sense is as useful often as a healthy dose of vitamins or mineral supplements.

  1. Spinach: Serving size: at least two servings daily (one serving = one cup raw or ½ cup cooked)
    Benefits: high in fiber, vitamin C and healthy fats to help fight cancer
    (Alternatives: romaine lettuce, kale, watercress, mustard greens, Swiss chard, arugula)
  2. Oranges: Serving size: at least one serving daily
    Benefits: boosts vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids
    (Alternatives: grapefruits, citrons, kumquats, lemons, limes, tangerines)
  3. Broccoli: Serving size: ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw daily
    Benefits: cancer- fighting phytochemicals, storehouses for vitamin C, fiber and folic acid
    (Alternatives: cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and watercress)
  4. Onions and Garlic: Serving size: ⅛th onions, 1 clove garlic
    Benefits: cancer-fighting compounds
    (Alternatives: shallots, leeks, chives)
  5. Papaya: Serving size: at least one serving daily
    Benefits: contains folic acid and antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E
    (Alternatives: cantaloupe, watermelon, yellow pepper, red pepper)
  6. Tomatoes: Benefits: studies indicate intake of tomato products reduce risk of cancers
    (Alternatives: ketchup, pasta sauce, and other tomato- based products)
  7. Sweet Potatoes: Benefits: highamounts of fiber, vitamin’s C and E
    (Alternatives: winter squash)
  8. Berries: Serving size: ½ cup daily frozen or fresh
    Benefits: high in fiber, folic acid, and vitamin C
    (Alternatives: any type of berry strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
  9. Black-eyed peas: Benefits: contains inhibitors which may stop cancer; high in fiber, folic acid and selenium
    (Alternatives: lentils, split peas, black beans, kidney beans)
  10. Soy Foods: Serving size: ¼th cup (8oz) tofu, ¼ soy nuts, or 2 cups soy milk
    Benefits: forms of soy are rich in phytoestrogens which reduces risk of cancer
  11. Oats: Benefits: phytochemicals boost cancer prevention power
  12. Tea: Benefits: blend of flavonoids act as antioxidant to edge out cancer; green tea is the strongest
  13. Flaxseed: Benefits: high in fiber, vitamin E and phytochemicals called lignans; must grind flaxseed in coffee grinder or buy it ground because the body cannot break it down
  14. Wheat Germ: Benefits: lignans, folic acid and selenium important in battling cancer
    (Alternatives: whole-wheat flour, bulgur wheat, oat berries, cracked wheat)
  15. Nonfat Milk: Benefits: good source of calcium and vitamin D. Stay clear of milk with any fat in it. Nonfat milk plays a role in preventing colon cancer.

From Harnessing the Cancer-Fighting Power of Foods, Women’s Health Advisor. July 1999