Top Foods to Help Fight Cancer

cancer fighting foodsHippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” As Charleston breast surgeons,  we know that eating the right foods is a powerful weapon in your cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing arsenal. Here are four groups of foods you should include in your diet daily.


Berries of all types not only nourish your body, but also help cancer treatments work. They contain ellagic acid, a substance that helps your body fight cancer. They also help to inhibit cancer growth. Eat a variety of berries to get the full range of nutrients, including cherries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables

This food group, the carotenoids, gives your body powerful compounds such as lutein and lycopene to help your body attack cancer cells. These foods come in a variety of colors, which means they contain a wide range of nutrients.

Green tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants and reduces cancer cell growth and spread. Like berries, it acts as a helper for cancer treatment, specifically radiation.


Flaxseed is rich in magnesium, copper, thiamine, fiber, alpha-linolenic acid, and tocopherols. It helps your blood carry oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is a natural enemy of cancer. For more info the benefits of flaxseed, check out this article or check out this video below.

Sprouts and dark leafy greens

These delicious salad fixings boost your immune system and give you antioxidants to fight cancer. Chlorophyll helps your body stay healthy, and these foods are full of enzymes that contribute to detoxification.

Cruciferous vegetables

Years ago, the comedian George Carlin had a joke about broccoli and cauliflower killing cancer. It turns out he was correct: cruciferous vegetables, which also include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chard, and collard greens, help fight cancer. Their potent anticancer nutrients not only aid the body in killing existing cancer, but they also stop precancerous cells from progressing.


Strong-flavored herbs such as turmeric, mint, ginger, rosemary, and oregano flood your body with anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit cancer growth. They also increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment and block the spread of cancer.

To receive the full effect of these foods, eat them regularly in generous amounts. The more you eat, the more effective your fight against cancer will be. Eat organic foods as much as possible, and drink plenty of filtered water.


5 Tips for Staying Regular (And Feeling Great!)

dietary fiberYou’ve heard it for years: eat more fiber to stay regular—but you might not understand what that means. Fiber is the part of the grain, vegetable, or plant that we cannot digest. It passes through your system without breaking down and adds weight and bulk to your stools.

Eating more fiber decreases constipation, reduces straining because bulky stools are easier to pass, and helps you feel great. You’ll want to aim for a certain amount of fiber per day, so you’ll need to read ingredient labels or research fiber amounts online to see how much each food has. According to the Mayo Clinic, men under 50 need at least 38 grams per day, while men over 50 need 30. Women under 50 should have at least 25 grams, and those over 50 should have at least 21 grams.

Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. The more of these you eat, the more you’ll find what works best for you. It’s easy to work fiber into your diet; for example, you can eat high-fiber cereal or cook with high-fiber vegetables. You can also use over-the-counter fiber supplements such as Metamucil, though whole foods should be your first choice.

To stay regular, you might try some of the following ideas in addition to extra fiber. These ideas will also help after breast reconstruction surgery,  as the procedure itself can be constipating.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Water helps keep your stools soft and easy to pass. Hot liquids, especially those with caffeine, stimulate colon action. You might try hot water with lemon juice first thing in the morning.

Don’t ignore the urge to go.

Many of us will simply hold off on using the bathroom if the urge hits at an inconvenient time. Always answer the call of nature. Regularly ignoring it can cause constipation or hard stools that are difficult to pass. Not going when the urge hits can also contribute to poor bowel action.

If you have a habit of ignoring urges, you may want to establish a certain time of day when you go to the bathroom.

Get more exercise.

Exercise helps you stay regular because the movement stimulates your body and helps your colon move waste. There’s a reason dogs tend to go during daily walks. Laughter has also been found to stimulate the colon, so if you’re having trouble, watch your favorite funny movie.

Know your medications and compensate.

Some medications can be constipating, so you may need to be extra vigilant about your fiber intake and add more water, prunes or stewed figs, or even a stool softener.

Take precautions when you travel.

Traveling tends to make you irregular, so be sure to stay well hydrated and eat plenty of fiber before and during your trip. The time difference may mean you’re using the bathroom at very odd times. Go with it and don’t ignore your body.

What’s your favorite tip for staying regular?