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Spring fruits and vegetables that fight cancer: Experts share top 5

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Which 5 springtime fruits and vegetables fight cancer?

Spring is a great time to stock up on fruits and vegetables that help fight cancer. The change of season brings fresh opportunities to promote personal health and well-being from produce that is loaded with antioxidants and cancer fighting chemicals. Experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center explain which 5 fruits and vegetables are top of the list for cancer prevention and very easy on the budget.

Inexpensive cancer protection from fruits and veggies

Strawberries are a first choice in the spring because they're low calorie, abundant locally when in season and only cost about $2.28 per pound. Check your local grocer for deals and consider freezing them for eating year round. One cup of strawberries is only 46 calories and can help protect from breast, skin, esophageal and bladder cancer. Check for ripeness by making sure the green gap at the top of the strawberry is still attached. The berries should be firm and free from mold or decay.

Fiber, folates (B vitamins) and antioxidants in raw spinach could help protect from cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx (the voice box). One cup of raw spinach is only 7 calories, so feel free to indulge. Patients who are taking blood thinners – especially warfarin – should be cautious about overeating spinach because of the vitamin K content that can lead to blood clotting. One 10 ounce bag of fresh spinach leaves is less than $4 and provides 5 cups of Popeye’s favorite vegetable.

Mustard greens
If you don’t like spinach, try mustard greens that have a little different flavor. They have the same cancer fighting nutrients as spinach and cost a bit less. Cook them with a little olive oil and no salt seasoning (try a garlic herb blend). One pound of mustard greens cooks yields about 2.5 cups. One cup of greens is just 21 calories (without the olive oil). With a tablespoon of olive oil, calorie content is around 60 per serving size. You can also add lemon juice to bring out the flavor.

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Broccoli has a variety of health benefits, especially for women who have survived breast cancer; recently reported by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Of note, mustard greens are also linked to lower chances that breast cancer will return. MD Anderson Cancer Center experts recommend eating broccoli for its role in preventing colorectal cancer. A serving size, which is one cup, yields just 30 calories, without any salt added. In addition to fiber, which is one of the ways broccoli protects from colon cancer, the green cruciferous vegetable is also rich in folates and antioxidants.

Broccoli might also help protect from skin cancer. According to Paul Talalay, MD, from Johns Hopkins University, broccoli sprouts are beneficial for protecting from sunburn. He warns, “Broccoli isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, but the protection you get won’t wash off in the pool”.

The yellow fruit is low sodium, sweet and can help with maintaining a healthy weight when substituted for other snacks or desserts. Obesity is linked to cancer and is also believed to promote the spread of cancer. Pineapple is also rich in vitamin C.

Spring is a time for detoxifying the body. Focusing on fruits and vegetables that are inexpensive, low calorie can help lower your chances of cancer. Spinach ($.52 cents a serving), mustard greens ($.81 cents per serving), broccoli ($.63 cents) and strawberries ($.89 cents) are all inexpensive top cancer fighting foods.

MD Anderson Cancer Center
"5 Cancer-Fighting Springtime Fruits and Veggies"

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