You hear the lofty claims all the time: “Eating citrus (or tomatoes, or broccoli, or fill in the blank food) can help slash your risk of cancer!” And while it all sounds enticing, you’re smart enough to know that no food can work its magic in isolation, and that subsisting on grapefruit will only make you hangry.
So how can someone actually lower their cancer risk through food? Consider checking out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) brand new Cancer Defense Diet, which helps put the confusing nutrition research into real-world context by highlighting the best foods, food combinations, serving sizes, and cooking methods to keep your risk of cancer as low as possible—all based on current reputable research, not random one-off studies.
On this new online hub you'll find things like a list of key cancer-fighting nutrients and tips on how to prep your food in a way that boosts their bioavailability (e.g. cook your tomatoes to boost their lycopene content). It also features a Cancer Defense Food Groups chart (at the bottom of this page) highlighting unconventional food groups like “red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables” and “alliums,” which are chock full of anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as anthocyanin antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds.
There's a nutrition calculator, too, which helps you estimate your intake of phytochemicals. (Apparently, I get more than enough orange and red-hued fruits and veggies, but I’m lacking in the greens and plant protein department—definitely a wake up call!)
While all of this information in once place is extremely useful, it can still feel a tad overwhelming. So to make it even more digestible, we asked the EWG’s resident nutritionist Dawn Undurraga, RD, to spell out exactly what a day of healthy eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks) would look like if someone were to follow this Cancer Defense Diet. Here are her recommendations:
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