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Cancer-Fighting Superheroes in the Kitchen

To reduce your risk of cancer, look no further than your fridge. Studies suggest that an overall healthful diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables is the key to avoiding heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. These foods are low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates; and they're packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants, which can protect cells from harmful compounds in food and in the environment and prevent cell damage and mutations.

Cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale) All these vegetables contain cancer-fighting properties. Broccoli offers an extra bonus — sulforaphane — a potent compound that boosts the body's protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals, including cancer stem cells that aid in tumor growth. Add these wherever you can ? from salads to omelets to the top of your pizza (on whole wheat dough, of course).
Dark green leafy vegetables (mustard greens, lettuce, chicory, spinach, and chard) The abundant fiber, folate, and carotenoids in these salad staples may help protect against cancer of the mouth, larynx, pancreas, lung, skin, and stomach. Toss into salads or blend into smoothies.
Berries Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals that may rid the body of free radicals, can slow down the growth of premalignant cells, and can deactivate certain cancer-causing substances. Mix into yogurt; use as a topping on cereal, oatmeal, and salads; or blend into a smoothie.
Tomatoes This fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid that was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth. The biggest benefits come from cooked tomatoes (think pasta sauce), because heating increases the amount of lycopene your body can absorb.
Walnuts The phytosterols in these drupes (technically, walnuts aren't nuts) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells' growth. Toss into salads, breads, or trail mix. For the best benefits, munch on one ounce every day.
Garlic It not only keeps vampires away, but the phytochemicals in garlic stop the formation of nitrosamines ? carcinogens formed in the stomach when you eat nitrates, a common food preservative. Stir a clove of fresh, crushed garlic (crushing releases beneficial enzymes) into tomato sauce.
Beans A Michigan State University study found that black and navy beans increased levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which in high concentrations has protective effects against cancer growth. Add a half cup of beans a few times a week to your usual rotation of greens or other veggies.
Tea Green tea may prevent the development of cancer in the colon, liver, breast, prostate, lungs, bladder, stomach, and pancreas. Enjoy it hot or iced.

Sources: WebMD;