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Reduce your cancer risk by keeping these foods in your diet
These 10 foods can reduce your cancer risk

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Date published: 3/7/2010

THE RIGHT foods can help you feel good now and reduce risks of cancer in the future.

Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are all anti-cancer foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends filling at least two-thirds of your plate with those foods at every meal.

"Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat," says the AICR.

Here are my top 10 choices for nutrient-rich foods that are high in natural cancer-fighting phytochemicals:

1. Beans. They're a magical fruit. Women who ate the most beans had a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer, according to one study.

Any kind of beans will do: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, etc. Consider adding beans to chili, to minestrone soup and as a topping for salads.

Soybeans also fall into this category--so enjoy soy milk, veggie burgers, soy nuts, edamame, tofu and tempeh. Soy has been shown to reduce risk of hormonal cancers such as breast cancer, and a Chinese study released in February showed soy foods don't interfere with chemotherapy--soy seems safe for breast cancer survivors, too.

Soy foods were linked to 30 percent to 40 percent lower rates of ovarian and endometrial cancers in a Korean study.

Eating more soy reduced prostate cancer growth in a small study in California.

2. Berries. They're rich in vitamin C and fiber, both of which reduce cancer risks. Strawberries are especially rich in ellagic acid, while blueberries contain anthocyanosides, and red grapes have resveratrol, all powerful antioxidants.

3. Cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables--including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale--are also linked to lower cancer rates.

Along with having fiber and vitamin C, these veggies contain cancer-fighting isothiocyanates.

One study showed yellow vegetables and cruciferous veggies were linked to longer survival for women who had ovarian cancer. Other studies suggest benefits for preventing lung cancer and stomach cancer. Cabbage eaters had a 50 percent lower risk of colon cancer in an Indian study.

4. Dark-green leafy vegetables. These vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and other greens, are packed with heart-healthy potassium and magnesium. They're also rich in cancer-fighting agents such fiber, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Women who ate more of these veggies had 50 percent lower rates of cervical cancer than women who ate few greens.


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Jennifer Motl is a registered dietitian. Formerly of Fredericksburg, she now lives in Wisconsin.

Jenny's Super Curry Salad

Makes 12 -cup servings

Cook's note: This salad combines several cancer-fighting foods--broccoli, garlic, raisins and curry--into a delicious dish that can be served warm or cold.

You can make variations by substituting cauliflower for broccoli and using dried cranberries instead of raisins, or a chopped scallion instead of garlic powder.

5 cups broccoli, chopped cup water cup low-fat plain yogurt teaspoon garlic powder teaspoon curry powder (more if you like) cup raisins cup almonds, chopped

Directions:

1. Steam broccoli in 1 cup water.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic powder and curry powder.

3. Toss broccoli with dressing.

4. Top with raisins and almonds, and serve.

Nutrient analysis per serving:

96 calories, 4 grams protein, 6 grams fat, less than 1 gram saturated fat, no cholesterol, 12 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 64 milligrams calcium, 1 milligram iron, 19 milligrams sodium, 276 milligrams potassium, 572 units vitamin A, 35 milligrams vitamin C