Nutrition & Foods for Cancer Prevention
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Can our diet prevent cancer? And if so what does a cancer prevention diet looks like? Keep reading to find out! 

Foods that lower your risk for cancer

Although there isn’t a magic diet that guarantees cancer prevention or that it will cure cancer, our diet certainly can reduce our risk of cancer. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”? It’s more than just a catchy saying. The food we consume plays an integral role in our overall health and well-being. And when it comes to preventing cancer, your diet can be your strongest ally. 

No single food can protect you against cancer by itself. But a diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices can all help lower your risk. Think of it as building a fortress around your body – every wholesome bite adds another brick to the wall of defence against cancer. 

Fruit and Vegetables

These colourful delights are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre –all of which play a crucial role in a cancer prevention diet. 

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain sulforaphane, a plant compound that has anti-cancer properties. 

Another plant compound with anti-cancer properties is anthocyanin, which is a plant pigment that has antioxidant properties and has been associated with reduced risk of cancer.  Fruit and vegetables that are red, purple and blue contain anthocyanins.  Consider adding more plums, berries, red cabbage, red onions to your diet. 

Did you know purple tea, purple rice (yes, both of these exist and they are delicious!), cocoa, black olives and pecans are also excellent sources of anthocyanins? 

Healthy Fats

Consuming plant-based unsaturated fat such as olive oil, olives, nuts and seeds and avocado have been associated with lower cancer risk.  In fact, consuming olive oil has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer and digestive cancer.   

Most nuts and seeds are sources of antioxidants and fibre which also play a significant role in cancer prevention.  Consider snacking on these delicious nutrient-powerhouses daily. 

Although not plant-based, fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines or mackerel are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to reduced inflammation and lower risk of certain types of cancers including breast and prostate cancer.  Flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp hearts and Brussels sprouts are also excellent sources of omega-3. Learn more about foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Promising new research has shown that combining an omega-3 and vitamin D supplement with a simple home exercise program, can reduce cancer risk among active adults aged 70+.  

Foods that lower your risk of developing cancer

Whole Grains and Legumes

Whole grains and legumes might seem like humble foods – they don’t have the exotic allure of goji berries or the superfood status of kale. Yet these nutritional powerhouses are loaded with potent anti-cancer compounds such as fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals.  They both helps us to feel fuller longer, and therefore play a key role in maintaining a healthy weight. 

Consider swapping out white bread for whole grain, give purple, red or brown rice a try.  Use quinoa, amaranth or other whole grains to make delicious, satiating salads for lunch.  Legumes make a tasty, satisfying and inexpensive alternative to meat.  If you aren’t already doing so, consider having a meatless meal a few times per week. Learn more about legumes here including recipes and more. 

Herbs and Spices

These humble pantry staples are not just flavour enhancers; they’re packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and other phytochemicals that can help protect against cancer. 

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties thanks to curcumin – its active ingredient – which has shown potential in preventing various types of cancers including pancreatic and colon cancer. Similarly, garlic, rich in allicin has been found effective against stomach and colorectal cancers. Check out our blog post on the benefits of turmeric and black pepper and how to incorporate these into your meals. 

Don’t forget about green tea! Rich in antioxidants known as catechins, studies suggest regular consumption can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. 

But how do we incorporate these power-packed ingredients into our daily lives? 

  • Start simple by adding fresh garlic or turmeric powder into your favourite recipes.
  • Brew yourself a cup of green tea every morning instead of coffee.
  • Experiment with international cuisines like Indian or Mediterranean that use these ingredients abundantly. 

Remember, variety is key! So don’t limit yourself to just one or two superfoods; aim for a colourful plate filled with diverse fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, herbs, and spices. 

 A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and regular medical check-ups are also crucial components of reducing the risk of cancer.    

And don’t forget all foods fit! Save room for your favourite soulful foods and remember there are no bad foods, it’s your overall diet that counts! 

Bonus tip: Hydration is key! Staying well-hydrated not only keeps your body functioning optimally but also helps in flushing out toxins. Aim for at least 8 glasses (2L) of water a day to keep your cells happy and healthy. If you struggle to drink water here a few hydration tips to guide you. 

Looking for more guidance on healthy eating for health prevention or wondering if you should start taking a supplement? Our Dietitians can help!

Book an appointment with a Registered Dietitian on our team to help you personalize the advice for your own needs.  We specialize in weight concerns, meal planning, eating disorders, sports nutrition, digestive health, pediatric nutrition and more! One of our dietitians would be happy to work with you to create a customized plan.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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