Dodge the “Big C” with Cancer-Clobbering Foods

report released this month by the American Association for Cancer Research found that nearly half of all cancer deaths could have been prevented. The study is quick to point out that the intention is not to blame the cancer victim, but to help persuade folks to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

But here’s the thing: Few, if any, diseases strike more dread in our hearts than cancer. For that reason, it’s all too easy to panic when yet another study pops up claiming that some chemical, food, or activity (or inactivity) causes cancer. It’s enough to make you want to crawl into a cave and stay there. Well, don’t do that — instead, use your common sense and get your body in tip-top shape. Here’s how:

Exercise chalks up a win. More and more scientific studies are showing that regular exercise can help prevent cancer, ease the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and lessen the chance that cancer will occur. And here’s the big news: If you have cancer of any kind, exercising on a routine basis can cut your risk of dying from it by 53 percent. So get a move on — yesterday!

Add 10 cancer-clobbering foods to your shopping list. One key to staying healthy is to eat a wide variety of wholesome foods, but when it comes to preventing or slowing the growth of cancer cells, nutritionists give top marks to these 10 all-stars:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Dark green or red leafy veggies
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Legumes
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole grains

Snack on chocolate. Yep — you read that right. Studies have shown that compounds called polyphenols slow the growth of cancer cells. And one ounce of dark chocolate contains almost as many polyphenols as a cup of green tea, and twice as many as a glass of red wine (two widely touted sources of the compounds). Just remember that the operative word is “dark.” Look for chocolate that consists of more than 70 percent cocoa.