Making Healthy Food Choices

You can lower your cancer risk (your chances of getting cancer) by eating a variety of plant-based foods. No single food prevents cancer. But a combination of these healthy foods can lower your cancer risk:

  • Vegetables, including leafy greens
  • Whole fruits (not fruit juice)
  • Whole grains
  • Beans, peas, and lentils

Plant-based foods help prevent cancer in these ways:

  • They contain compounds that repair cells and help fight cancer before it starts.
  • They support the immune system and fight infection.
  • They provide energy and keep waste moving out of the body.
  • They lower inflammation in your body, which can lead to cancer.
  • They help you keep a healthy weight.

Foods That Fight Cancer

Research has proven that specific compounds found in the foods below fight certain kinds of cancer. Remember, it is more important to eat a variety of plant-based foods than to limit yourself to a few “superfoods.”


  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapefruit*
  • Grapes

*Certain cancer treatments may interact with grapefruit. Talk with your doctor if you are currently receiving treatment.


  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash

Whole Grains

  • 100% whole-wheat bread
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Millet
  • Oats


  • Dry beans (kidney, black)
  • Edamame
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Tofu

Nuts and Seeds

  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts


  • Coffee
  • Green tea

How to Choose Healthy Foods

Follow these tips for choosing healthy foods:

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • When you eat grains, choose whole grains at least half the time.
  • Eat fish twice per week.
  • Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products.
  • Choose skinless poultry.
  • Limit red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb.
  • Limit processed meat, such as bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats.
  • Use the Cancer-Fighting Foods Shopping List when you go grocery shopping.