No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But scientists believe that the combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet may. There is evidence that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods could interact in ways that boost their individual anti-cancer effects. This concept of interaction, where 1 + 1 = 3, is called synergy.
In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low in calorie-density and protect against weight gain. According to the second expert report, carrying excess body fat is implicated in the development of cancer. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and protect against those cancers whose risk is convincingly increased by higher body fat (cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, kidney and breast in postmenopausal women).
That is why AICR recommends that at least 2/3 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.
Much of the laboratory research on diet and cancer suggests that eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans will protect against cancer. Scientists are investigating how and why these foods may prevent the development of tumors.
Here is a list of foods we at AICR get asked about most often. Click each one to learn what current science can tell us about its role in protecting our health.