The 4 best cancer-fighting fruits

I love fruit. Berries, apples, peaches, pears, oranges, mangos, kiwis, strawberries — they’re all golden to me.

But do you know what really sweetens the deal when it comes to eating fruit? Most fruits do wonders for your health. They’re chock-full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, which means they’re not only delicious, they’re nutritious too.

But the absolute best part about eating fruit is that something so scrumptious can help ward off one of the deadliest diseases in the world — cancer. In fact, certain fruits are highly revered — and highly researched — for their cancer-fighting abilities.

But if you’re a fruit fanatic like me, you only have so many calories in the day to dedicate to your love affair with fruit. So what fruits do you need to put on your plate for cancer prevention? Your best bet is to try four of the most powerful cancer-fighting fruits around:

  • Berries are the king of cancer-fighting fruits. That’s because they contain more antioxidants than nearly any other food. But which berry is a cut above the rest when it comes to cancer prevention? Well, in a 2002 study, researchers found that cranberries were the most effective fruit at stopping the spread of liver cancer cells. Powdered cranberry was also found to fight colon cancer in mice in a 2015 study. Indian gooseberry is considered a “wonder berry” that slays breast, lung, colon and liver cancers. But blackberries, blueberries and strawberries have also been scientifically proven to fight cancer too.
  • Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits contain high amounts of vitamin C — and vitamin C kills cancer cells, period. Citrus fruits are also full of flavonoids, which squelch inflammation — the root of most diseases. One 2015 study found that women who ate more citrus fruits had a significantly lower risk of ovarian cancer. There is one caveat though… a 2015 study found that eating citrus fruit before spending time in the sun may increase your risk of melanoma. So you may want to avoid citrus fruits if you’ll be spending a day at the beach.
  • Pomegranates are by far one of the most powerful cancer-fighting fruits. They’ve been scientifically shown to prevent prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and bladder cancer, just to name a few. They may also reduce the risk of metastasis. But that’s no surprise when you consider pomegranates are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world. They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • I know you’ve heard this old adage a million times but… an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. It can help keep the chemo away too. A 2016 review of scientific studies on the anti-cancer properties of apples found that people who ate more apples had a reduced risk of lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal and stomach cancer. Phenolics, flavonoids and other chemicals found naturally in apple peels can help fight breast cancer and kill other tumor cells.

If you fill your plate — or your blender for a delicious fruit smoothie — with these four fruits, cancer cells won’t stand a chance in your body. And your taste buds will be happy campers too! How much should you consume? Most experts recommend 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

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Sources:

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“The World’s Most Antioxidant Rich Foods.” Naturally Savvy. http://naturallysavvy.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

Cassidy, T. Huang, M. S. Rice, E. B. Rimm, S. S. Tworoger. “Intake of dietary flavonoids and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014; 100 (5): 1344.

“What Are the Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits?” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

“Natural compounds in pomegranates may prevent growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer.” American Association for Cancer Research. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

“Pomegranate Juice May Help Fight Lung Cancer.” University of Wisconsin- Madison. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

“Pomegranate juice components could stop cancer from spreading, research suggests.” University of California- Riverside. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

“Nutrient Composition of Fresh Pomegranate Juice.” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

Seidi, R. Jahanban-Esfahlan, M. Abasi, M.M. Abbasi. “Anti Tumoral Properties of Punica granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Extract in Different Human Cancer Cells.” Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2016;17(3):1119-22.

Fabiani, L. Minelli, P. Rosignoli. “Apple intake and cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.” Public Health Nutrition. 2016 Mar 22:1-15.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.