EWG's Cancer Defense Diet

We all know that diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthier for us than those dependent on processed foods loaded with added fats and sugars. But, did you know healthy diets can actually help fight against the development of several common cancers?

Produce and whole grains, and the nutrients they contain are good for us – but why and how do these food help defend against cancer? How can you make the most of their beneficial properties? Use our resources below to find the answers.

Keys to a Healthy Diet

Diet, along with physical activity and body weight, is a key component of cancer prevention and can help lower cancer risk.

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Calculator: Am I Eating the Right Foods?

Are you eating enough of the foods most likely to help lower your cancer risk? Use our calculator to find out.

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Infographic: Nutrients and Cancer Hallmarks

Did you know that there are many plant-based substances that can help make cancer development less likely?

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Maximize Nutritional Benefits of Foods

Food preparations and pairings in meals can help improve the absorption of key substances that can play a role in reducing cancer risks.

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A Word About Protein

Are you eating the right kinds of protein? EWG has compiled the facts you need to know to make better protein choices in your diet.

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Shopping Tips and Recipes

We’ve put together some tips on the basics of making healthy meals that will give you the flexibility to create a long-lasting, nutritious lifestyle.

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Advice from the Experts

EWG sat down to talk food science with J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, the managing culinary director of Serious Eats, and Guy Crosby, Ph.D., the science editor at America’s Test Kitchen.

Cancer-Defense Food Groups

Click on each food group to learn how it can help reduce cancer risk and how to add it to your diet.

Red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables
Red colored seafood
Red, yellow, orange, and green fruits and vegetables
Cooking with more herbs, spice, and aromatics and less salt, sugar, and sweeteners
Healthy oils, fatty fish, nuts and seeds
Cruciferous vegetables
Proteins - vegetable, seafood, and poultry instead of red and processed meats
Alliums (onion family)
Whole grains
Red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables


These dark colored plant foods contain a host of vitamins and nutrients, as well as anthocyanins – a class of flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanin-rich foods have been found to lower cancer risks, but studies isolating anthocyanins have not observed the same effects to date.


Berries, red grapes, purple cabbage, cherries, red onions, red leaf lettuce, eggplant, radishes, black beans, plums
Supplement warning: EWG recommends caution if using nutritional supplements without a medical reason. High dose nutritional supplements do not have demonstrated benefits without a specific deficiency or medical need. Some nutrients, such as antioxidants or selenium, can cause harm at very high doses.
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