Food is a powerful resource for cancer prevention.

And did you know that 40 percent of all cancer could be prevented with diet and lifestyle modifications?

The choices we make when it comes to food are incredibly important for preventing, treating, and even reversing cancer.  Here are 5 foods to add and 2 lifestyle factors to avoid that could reduce your cancer risk.


1. Eat nuts 

Eating tree nuts like walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, and Brazil nuts may help prevent cancer.

Nuts contain cancer-fighting polyphenols that boost our immune systems to fight cancer, and they also have healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which can starve cancer by cutting off its blood supply.

A major study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed people who ate nuts had a significant reduction in their risk of cancer (and overall reduced mortality) compared to people who ate few or no nuts.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology released a report showing that eating nuts can make a significant difference in overall cancer survival. In a study of more than 800 patients with stage III colon cancer, those who consumed about two small handfuls (about 2 ounces) of tree nuts per week had a 46% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 53% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

2.  Have tomato sauce

Tomatoes are tasty cancer-fighters and their power may be attributable to the lycopene, a cancer starver, which is found in highest levels in the San Marzano tomato. Lycopene also protects your DNA from damage, which helps shield you against cancer. Studies show that men who eat 2-3 cups of cooked tomatoes twice weekly have a 30% lowered risk of prostate cancer.

3.  Love those purple potatoes

Once food of the Inca Kings, purple potatoes contain a natural chemical called anthocyanin that starves and kills cancer cells, and wipes out the dreaded cancer stem cells.

4.  Sip a cup of matcha green tea

Cancer researchers in England have shown that the matcha green tea has the ability to fight breast cancer by cutting off the fuel lines to their cancer stem cells. Without fuel, the cancer stem cells can’t function and die. These cancer stem cells are responsible for creating more cancer cells and for cancer returning after treatment, so finding ways to destroy them is a kind of ‘holy grail’ in cancer research. While the study was done in the laboratory (and not in people with breast cancer), this discovery is exciting and should lead to further research to see if the same effects will take place in people with breast cancer.

5. Oysters lovers unite

Oyster lovers have another reason to enjoy this shellfish: they protect your DNA. Oyster meat contains proteins, polysaccharides, and amino acids that have powerful antioxidant effects that protect your DNA against free radical damage. Researchers found eating extracts from oysters can reduce DNA damage by 90% and increases the protective antioxidant glutathione by 50%.


1. Stay away from the grilled meats 

When meat is grilled, the flames produce toxic carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These carcinogens form when oils from the meat drip into flame and smoke. The rising smoke deposits the carcinogens right on the cooking meat. High grilling temperatures also convert amino acids and proteins in meat into dangerous toxins called heterocyclic amines (HCA).

Marinating meat ahead of time with olive oil, turmeric, soy, and even fruits can reduce the build-up of carcinogens during grilling.

Clean the grates on your grill thoroughly to remove the carcinogens in the char from the last piece of meat that was grilled.

2. Just say no to second-hand smoke

Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, but did you know that breathing the exhaled smoke from someone else is just as bad?  Being in the household or regular company of an active smoker increases cancer risk.  Even pet cats that live with smokers develop more cancer because they lick the smoke off their fur.

If you liked these useful tips, you’ll find many more in DrLi’s forthcoming book Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science Of How The Body Can Heal Itself (available now for pre-order).

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