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Cancer: Top 5 Foods That Fight It

Cancer strikes fear in every one of us. This is especially true since the number of cases has been increasing every year. In Malaysia, the top five cancers are as follows: breast cancer (14.5%), intestinal cancer (12.1%), lung cancer (11.8%), cervical cancer (5.7%) and throat cancer (5.4%). Here are the top 5 foods that can prevent and combat cancer.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables in the cabbage family. This includes cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are rich in vitamin C and also have unique cancer fighting components such as isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. These active components in the cruciferous vegetables have showed great potential in killing cancer cells in animal studies and a few clinical trials. Hence, it is beneficial for us, especially those who have genetic predisposition to cancer to eat 2 to 3 servings of cruciferous vegetables daily.


Berries are yummy soft-fleshed fruits. Besides being delicious and fragrant, these soft fruits are loaded with cancer fighting nutrients known as polyphenols. Polyphenols such as flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids have great cancer fighting potentials. They are able to reduce and repair damage from cell inflammation and oxidative stress which are the primal culprit of cancerous growth. These berry antioxidants are able to regulate cancer fighting processes by causing cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death. Blue berries, strawberries and cranberries are easily available at our supermarkets. They are good on their own or can be made into smoothies.


Turmeric gives a bright florescent yellow colour to our gravies and sauces. The bright yellow colour came from curcumin, a cancer fighting substance. It does that by promoting the killing of cancer cells, seeking and neutralizing reactive oxidative species in the body which are the main cause of cell mutation. Besides that, curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammatory markers in the body. We can easily integrate turmeric into our daily lives by using it in sauces or even make a sweet concoction of turmeric powder and honey to drink daily.


Yogurt is fermented milk that contains probiotics, usually of the lactobacillus species. Yogurt is able to improve our digestive health and has great potential in tackling colon cancer. Yogurt does this my regulating the immunity of our digestive tract and reducing overall inflammation of the gut. We can start off our day with a small serving of original flavour yogurt. If it is too sour, add a hint of honey or berries.

Wild caught fatty fish

Wild caught fatty fish such as wild salmon and wild catfish contains high amount of omega 3 fatty acid. Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory in nature and has showed great potential in reducing breast cancer. With people receiving chemotherapy, sufficient intake of omega 3 is able to reduce the severity of the side effect of chemotherapy such as loss of appetite and dry mouth. Omega 3 is also showed to slow down the weight loss in the cancer patients as well.


1.The Star. 2016. About 100,000 Malaysians suffer from cancer each year. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 1 September 2017]

2.Murillo GMehta RG. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer. 2001;41(1-2):17-28.

3.Seeram NP. Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):630-5.

4.W Park, A.R.M Ruhul, ZG Chen, and DM Shin. New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 May; 6(5): 387–400.

5.Perdigón G, de Moreno de LeBlanc A, Valdez J, Rachid M. Role of yoghurt in the prevention of colon cancer. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Aug;56 Suppl 3:S65-8.

cancer, cruciferous vegetables, berries, yoghurt, turmeric, wild caught fatty fish

About The Author
Chang Wai Ken
Ken Chang graduated with a first class honour degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from International Medical University. He is currently a practicing dietitian in the community. His areas of expertise include weight management, pre and post gastrectomy diet management, diabetic meal management, hypertensive/ dyslipidemia meal management, cancer support nutrition recommendations, functional food and supplementation recommendations.

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