One of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Prevent Cancer

If you’ve vowed to improve your eating habits to reduce your cancer risk but dread the prospect, health experts have great news for you: The foods you need are as close as your supermarket, easy to prepare and may already be among your favorites.

Changing your diet for the better may be as simple as eating an apple rather than a bag of potato chips. Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for your general health, of course, but it’s also a top recommendation for cancer survivors. And that translates to good advice for anyone concerned about cancer. Although no single food–even a “superfood” such as sweet potato–can guarantee you’ll be cancer-free, scientists know some foods contain protective substances that can reduce your risk.

Here’s what you can add to your menus:

  • Varied fruits and vegetables. The greater the variety, the wider the range of antioxidants and protective plant chemicals you’ll be getting. For example, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale are high in folate to keep your body’s DNA healthy, while onions and garlic stimulate the self-destruction of damaged cells.
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds or four or five Brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which protects against colon cancer.
  • Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines and mackerel.
  • Bright colored fruit. Berries and plums may be protective against lung cancer.
  • Pomegranate juice.
  • Green tea. To maximize green tea’s benefits, steep–don’t boil–it, and pour yourself three servings a day.
  • Red wine. Limit your intake to two or three ounces a week (about a third of a glass of wine), especially if you have an increased risk for breast cancer.