Cancer-Fighting Foods: Nutritional Guide


Walnuts were first cultivated almost 7000 years ago in Central Asia. Today, California produces 99% of the American supply of walnuts.

Benefits include:

  • Ellagitannins increase antioxidant enzymes, decreasing free radical damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. By influencing gene expression, they decrease growth and stimulate self-destruction of mouth, esophagus, breast, cervix, colon and prostate cancer cells.
  • Melatonin has been shown to decrease growth of both estrogen-receptor-positive and -negative breast cancer in isolated cells and in animals. Such studies also show decreased growth of prostate and other cancers, with effects seen all across stages of cancer development.
  • Gamma-tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E) provides anti-inflammatory protection than alpha-tocopherol. In both cell and animal studies gamma-tocopherol decreases cancer cell growth.

How To Use:

Add chopped walnuts into a bean burger. Try roasting walnuts to use as a taco meat filling.


Almonds originate from western parts of Asia and China. Newlyweds in ancient Rome were showered with almonds, which were considered a fertility charm.

Benefits include:

  • Alpha tocopherol (another form of Vitamin E) acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The immune system also relies on vitamin E for optimal functioning.

How To Use:

The quintessential snack food that combines fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Keep a jar in your desk for a quick snack. Sliced almonds on top of hot cereal add texture, flavor, and nutrients.


Pecans originate in Central and Eastern North America and named by Native Americans. Pecan trees range in height from 70 to 100 feet.

Benefits include:

  • Gamma-tocopherol provides anti-inflammatory protection than alpha-tocopherol. In both cell and animal studies gamma-tocopherol decreases cancer cell growth.
  • Flavonoids (proanthocyanidins, anthocyanidins, and flavan-3-ols) include a large group of phytochemicals. They have been shown to induce cancer cell death.

How To Use:

Top ricotta toast with pecans. Add chopped pecans to a pumpkin overnight oats recipe. Roast stone fruit such as plums and top with chopped pecans.


Pistachios originate from Central Asia and symbolize health, happiness, and good luck. In China, they are referred to as the “happy nut”.

Benefits include:

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that have are concentrated in the eyes, brain, and skin. They help to neutralize free radical damage.

How To Use:

Buy pistachios in their shell, and enjoy cracking into each for a mindful snack. Enjoy fresh sliced citrus with chopped pistachios and cinnamon.

Cancer-Fighting Foods: Nutritional Guide


Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C, most commonly found in citrus fruits, is the most powerful antioxidant we can eat. It helps to repair cells that become damaged and might otherwise turn into cancer cells.

A serving of citrus fruit will supply all the Vitamin C we need for the day! Terpenes in the peels of citrus and have been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells.

How To Use:

Have you tried Sumo Citrus yet? This is a special seasonal citrus fruit only available at this time of the year.


Root vegetables: Root vegetables vary in their nutrient content. Most have carotenoids which act to support our immune system. Many also have resistant starches that are shown to feed the microbes in our gut.

How To Use:

Root veggies are best when roasted! Toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and heat for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees.


Cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous veggies are cancer fighting super stars! They contain special compounds called glucosinolates that exert cancer protection at the cellular level.

How To Use:

The family of cruciferous vegetables is a tasty one! From an arugula salad to roasted Brussels sprouts to trendy cauliflower rice, the options are endless!


Leafy Greens: Dark green leafy vegetables are full of carotenoids. They protect our cells from outside damage. Most leafy greens also have folate, a B vitamin, that repairs cells that get damaged.

How To Use:

Keep a bag of baby spinach on hand to toss into omelets, soups, stews, marinara or your favorite smoothie.

Cancer-Fighting Foods: Nutritional Guide


Beans are some of the most widely available sustainable foods on the market, requiring little water to produce a high yield. These bacteria use the plant to draw nitrogen from the air and store it in the roots of the plant, creating an underground green warehouse. Once the legumes have finished their life cycles, the stored nitrogen is released into the soil, available for other plants to use.

All beans supply a source of plant protein, fiber, healthy fats, as well as folate, iron, potassium, and zinc.

Beans are one versatile food! One of the easiest ways to eat more beans is to replace beans in recipes that call for ground meat, such as chili, burgers, or tacos.


Soy is technically classified as a legume, and examples are tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso, and natto. Replacing animal proteins with plant proteins, found in whole soy food, is a significant way to benefit the environment.

Higher in protein and healthy fats while lower in carbs compared to other beans.

Whole soy foods are a source of fiber, omega 3 fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain isoflavones. Snack on edamame in the pods or as a roasted bean. Crumble tofu and use as a substitute for scrambled eggs.


Grains rank among the lowest in all foods on greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, they require comparatively less water than animal products.

The bran of whole grain contains important antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber.  The germ is the “embryo” which contains many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats.  The endosperm is a whole grain’s food supply and contains carbohydrates. Whole grains are another versatile food!  Enjoy oats as a hot cereal, as a substitute for breadcrumbs, or in your smoothie.

Did you know that wild rice is not rice, but is a semi-aquatic grass?  It is the perfect side to any dish and can be combined with a variety of ingredients and flavors.  Try wild rice with apples or with pepitas and sun-dried tomatoes.


Its production is the least impactful form of aquaculture. Seaweed gets everything it needs from the water around it, providing generous yields with no need for fertilizers and no pollution. In addition, seaweed filters excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from the water, offering a solution to problems posed by agricultural run-offs, fish farms and sewage facilities.

All types of seaweed contain a high concentration of fiber and water. It contains glutamic acid, which is an amino acid that converts to glutamate and imparts an umami flavor to recipes. Depending on the type of seaweed and when it’s harvested, it may contain iron and magnesium. Most seaweed contains omega 3 fats, as well as polyphenols and carotenoids.

Dried seaweed is the most used and can be softened by soaking in water for a few minutes. Seaweed does not need to be cooked before eating and is delicious when added to salads or soups. You might enjoy the trendy seaweed snacks made from nori

Cancer-Fighting Foods: Nutritional Guide



One of the most iconic spring vegetables, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is grown around the world and has been celebrated for millennia. Ancient Egyptians are said to have enjoyed it as many as 20,000 years ago. Asparagus comes in four varieties: green, white, purple and wild. 


Inulin is a type of dietary fiber called a fructan that functions as a prebiotic, which means that it nourishes health-promoting bacteria in the body. 

Did you know you can enjoy asparagus raw? Try enjoying raw asparagus salad by using a vegetable peeler and creating long “ribbons” of asparagus.  Toss with your favorite vinaigrette.  



Until hybridization with larger, juicier varieties, earlier cultivated strawberries were tiny, much like wild strawberries. Unlike any other fruit, strawberry seeds are on the outside (rather than the inside) of the fruit, technically making the strawberry not a berry at all. 


Anthocyanins influence cell signaling in ways that increase antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and carcinogen-deactivating enzyme.

Strawberries really shine when eaten raw, either completely unadorned, or sliced and tossed with a bit of sugar, orange juice, red wine or balsamic vinegar. 


Snow peas, sugar peas/sugar snap peas Peas have been a staple food since at least 3000 BCEThe French term for sugar snaps is mangetout which translates to “eat it all”.


Rich in fiber and contain Vitamin C & Vitamin A for antioxidant activity. Folate, one of the B vitamins best known to help form red blood cells and is responsible for helping cells grow and divide properly.

Eaten raw or just quickly blanched, both snow peas and sugar snap peas are delicious on their own: their sweet, green pea-taste and super crisp texture are mighty fine on their own. Of course, they also taste great when tossed into a stir-fry, added to a salad or pickled in brine! 


Ramps are a welcome sign of spring and in the allium family alongside spring onions and leeks.  Sometimes referred to as wild garlic, which is a completely different plant.


High in Vitamins A and C, which act like antioxidants to repair our damaged cells. 

Ramps are a seasonal substitute for any recipe that calls for spring onions, scallions, or garlicRamps have a peppery, garlicky bite that adds fresh flavors to many dishes.  They can be sauteed, chopped up and added to grains salads or eggs, or served in a springtime risotto. 

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