Cancer-Fighting Breakfast Boosters

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 | Comments ()

Foods have a surprising power to protect you against cancer, and simple breakfast choices let you put them to work.

Cancer cells crop up in our bodies all the time, and certain foods supply the nutrients that can stop cancer cells from forming and even help your body knock out cancer cells. If we really put the power of food to work, as much as 40 to 60% of cancer cases might never occur.

Here are four quick and easy ways to power up your breakfast with cancer-fighting foods.

Cancer Fighter #1: Papaya

Add some diced papaya to your morning yogurt. That faint reddish color in the papaya comes from lycopene, a powerful antioxidant also found in tomatoes. Papaya has a special carotenoid, too, called beta-cryptoxanthin. Together, these natural compounds knock out free radicals that can cause cancer and can even make cancer cells self-destruct. Researchers are especially zeroing in on papaya’s ability to prevent cervical cancer, and it appears to help against other forms as well.

Have about one papaya per week. Cut it into chunks, and pop it into a plastic bag in the fridge. It will be ready when you are. 

To kick it up another notch, try soy yogurt. For several years, researchers have wondered whether soy would help or hurt in the battle against cancer, and the verdict is now in: Soy is a cancer fighter.

Studies show that a serving of soy daily (think soy yogurt, soymilk or tofu) can cut breast cancer risk by as much as 30%. And women previously treated for breast cancer benefit, too. They cut the risk that their cancer will return by about 30% if they include soy products in their routine. The credit goes to natural compounds called isoflavones.

Neal D. Barnard, MD

Article written 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 Power Foods for the Brain