“More than 100,000 phytonutrients found in plants have potential to impede and alter cancer”

From past few years, cancer has become a leading cause of death in most of the affluent countries. It has been evaluated that around 30-40% of all cancers can be averted by adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary measures. Certain factors such as obesity, excess consumption of three whites (like sugar, salt and refined flours), low intake of fibre and disproportion of omega-3 and omega-6 fats are all related to the increasing risk of cancers (Donaldson SM, 2004).

Increase in the intake of functional foods like flaxseed (particularly its lignin fraction), and an ample amount of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of cancer. Vegetables belonging to allium (onion, garlic, leek, etc.) and cruciferae family (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts) exert beneficial effects. In this article, you will get to know about some foods which have anti-cancerous properties and reduces the risk of cancer.


Anti-cancer components





High fibre

In a study, 161 men with prostrate cancer were treated with flaxseed supplementation, it helped reduce the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.

High intake of dietary fibre may prevent colorectal cancer. (flaxseeds are high in fibre).

It was also observed that dietary flaxseeds have the ability to reduce  tumour growth in breast cancer patients.

Demark-Wahnefried W  et al (2008).

Murphy N et al (2012)

Thompson et al (2005)



Frequent consumption of tomato and lycopene was related to decrease in the risk of prostate cancer.

Study conducted by Lu et al revealed an inverse relation between prostate cancer and plasma lycopene concentration in 65 prostate cancer patients and 132 cancer-free controls

Giovannucci et al (2002).

Lu et al (2001)

Allium vegetable (Garlic, onion, leek, garlic stalks etc.)


Consumption of allium vegetables in an ample amount reduces the risk of gastric cancer.

Allicin present in freshly crushed garlic extract induces cell death in colon cancer.

Zhou Y (2011)

Bat-Chen W et al (2010)



Some studies showed that sulforaphane is associated with tumour cell death, and the reduced size of tumour also. Therefore, higher intake of cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. 

Li Y et al (2010); Wu QJ et al (2013)



In a study, evidence showed that bilberry extract reduced the cancer cell growth by 7% in 25 people with colorectal cancer.

Certain animal studies suggested that compound found in berries have the potential to reduce both growth and proliferation of some types of cancer.

Thomasset S et al (2009)

Kresty LA et al (2001); Lala G et al (2006)

Fish and fish oil

Omega 3

Bidoli E et al showed that starch and monounsaturated fatty acids are directly related to the risk of  prostate cancer while polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and  linolenic acid) help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in lowering the risk of breast cancer.

Bidoli E et al (2005)

Shannon J et al (2007)

Olive oil


Consumption of olive oil in higher amount may lower the risk of certain types of cancers such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

Psaltopsulou T et al (2011);

Stoneham M et al (2000)

Citrus fruits


Certain studies anticipated that higher consumption of citrus fruits lowers the risk of few types of cancers like pancreatic and stomach cancers.

Bae JM et al (2009);

Bae JM et al (2008)



Curcumin has been shown to reduce the growth of breast cancer cells.

Hua WF et al (2010).

Yoghurt and fermented foods (Idli, Dosa etc.)


Intake of dairy products with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) may induce anti-tumour effects. Certain studies also indicated that probiotic could decrease the risk and incidence  of tumours in colon, liver and bladder.

Kumar M et al (2010)

So, a well balanced diet means having all the food items especially plentiful of fruits and vegetables that can be conducive in preventing cancer and supports recovery.


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