Stomach Cancer Prevention Diet

By Neal D. Barnard, MD Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC Author of the 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

Posted on | By Neal D. Barnard, MD

Stomach cancer strikes about one million people each year. It is especially common in other parts of the world – in Asia, in particular – and it was something we thought we did not have to worry about in the US. However, recent reports have uncovered a disturbing new trend – a surprising rise in stomach cancer rates among young people in the US.

Stomach cancer often goes undetected. There is no lump to feel and nothing that might show up on an X-ray. By the time it is found, usually with a look into the stomach through an endoscope, it can be very hard to treat.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that food choices can protect you. Some foods reduce the risk that stomach cancer could strike. Other foods are harmful, and we now know which ones they are.

Cancer-Fighting Foods

Citrus fruits. It’s no secret that oranges, tangerines and clementines bring us vitamin C; they are among the richest sources of this critical vitamin. Vitamin C does more than help you fight colds. It is also a cancer-fighter. Vitamin C knocks out free radicals, dangerous compounds that arise as a part of body metabolism. Just as cars produce exhaust and factory chimneys release smoke, the chemical reactions in your body produce free radicals that can damage DNA. And DNA damage is the first step in the cancer process. Vitamin C shields you, neutralizing free radicals as they form.  

If you were thinking you might have to eat a bushel-full of oranges to protect yourself against cancer, it’s actually much simpler. Just one a day provides measurable benefit.

Citrus fruits also contain lesser-known nutrients, called flavonoids, that inhibit cancer cells from being able to invade your healthy body tissues. Flavonoids are not in the main part of the fruit – you’ll find them in the peel. Adding a little orange zest to your salad does not just make it pretty, it makes it healthier, too. So, citrus fruits help in two ways. Their vitamin C stops cancer from starting in the first place, and their flavonoids inhibit any existing cancer cells from harming you.  

Article written by Neal D. Barnard, MD
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of MedicinePresident of the Physicians...