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Benefits of a Vegan Diet for Fighting Cancer

Written by Rakhee Maloo, BA  | Article Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Nov 08, 2014
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The prevention of cancer has been the subject of many ongoing and completed research studies all over the world. It has been now well-established that positive dietary and lifestyle changes can help fight cancer as well as prevent the growth of this dreaded disease.


But can a vegandiet actually prevent cancer? There have been numerous studies now that support this claim and show that a plant-based diet is better than a meat-based diet in preventing and fighting cancer. There are many health benefits of a vegan diet and one of it appears to be cancer prevention. In fact recent studies have shown that a vegan diet is even more beneficial than a vegetarian diet in cancer prevention. A vegan diet consists only of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains. The difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that a vegan diet does not include any foods that come from animals, including dairy products such as milk, butter and yogurt.

Vegan Diet for Fighting Cancer

Eat more Fruits and Vegetables

What are some of essential components of a vegan diet to help fight cancer? To begin with raw or cooked vegetables are a must for such a diet. Vegetables such as carrots,butternut squash, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes are all excellent sources of beta-carotene. This is a substance that offers many health benefits and has been shown to help fight cancer. It helps by strengthening the immune system and by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Mango, papaya and pink grapefruit are also excellent sources of beta-carotene. In addition, tomatoes should be an integral part of a vegan diet. The lycopene found in tomatoes helps with the absorption of beta carotene.


Consuming vitamin C is also essential for a vegan diet for cancer prevention. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such astangerine, oranges and grapefruits and in gooseberry, peppers and many more fruits and vegetables. It helps by fighting the nitrites in foods that are carcinogens and by strengthening the immune system.

Cruciferous vegetables are regarded as some of the ‘most potent’ foods that fight cancer.Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and mustard greens are from the cruciferous family of vegetables. Including beta-carotene,lutein, zeaxanthin and glucosinolates – substances that have been shown to have cancer fighting properties.

Green Vegetables Could Fight Cancer

Veganism and cancer prevention means making a daily habit of eating raw fruits and vegetables. Phenols, flavones and other substances found in fruits and vegetables are cancer-fighting substances. For treating cancer diet changes are a must and fresh fruits and vegetables can provide much-needed relief to the body by fighting cancerous cells.

Eat more Fiber

It is now awell-known fact that fiber consumption helps in maintaining good health. But fiber in cancer patients’ diet can do wonders for them. Eating fiber cane specially prevent cancers of the colon and abdomen. Fiber helps move digested matter and waste material through the digestive track with much ease.The fast elimination of all waste products including carcinogens protects the intestinal walls from coming in prolonged contact with cancer-producing substances. The faster elimination of waste material also prevents food decayin the intestines that can produce substances that cause cancer.


For a cancer vegan diet with high fiber eat more whole grains, wheat bran, beans, legumes,apples, broccoli and other vegetables. For cancer diets it is recommended to eat at least 20 to 25 gm of fiber every day.

Eat More Fiber to Prevent Cancer

Eat less Fat/Right Fat

It is recommended that the total fat intake be kept below 50 gm per day for most adults. In order to be considered healthy the 50 gm of fat consumed needs to be the right type of fat. Vegetable fat sources high in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and canola oil and oils high in Omega-3 fatty acids are the right types of oils for a vegan diet for cancer prevention. Sesame seeds,walnuts, sunflower seeds and flax seed are good plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. To protect the cancer-fighting properties of these oils, it is best to keep their use to cooking but to avoid high temperatures such as achieved in deep frying of foods.

Consume Less Fat Oils

Eat more Soy

Soy products area big part of any vegan diet. They are a healthy source of protein that can completely replace animal protein sources in a diet. Rich in isoflavones, soy protects against many tumors and cancers of the rectum, colon, prostate, lung and breast. One serving of tofu, soybeans or soy milk every day as part of a vegan diet can also help in fighting cancer.

A vegan diet consisting of all of the foods above can be a potent weapon infighting and preventing many types of cancer. But this alone is not enough to fight cancer. Many lifestyle changes are also required such as being active,avoiding of alcohol and smoking, adequate vitamin D from sunlight and a positive outlook. It is also best to always consult your doctor before making any diet and lifestyle changes to fight cancer.

  1. Vegetarians get less cancer - (http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/07July/Pages/VegetarianDietCancerProtection.aspx)
  2. Cancer incidence in vegetarians: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford). - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19279082)
  3. Vegetarian diets and the incidence of cancer in a low-risk population. - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23169929)
  4. News Letter - (http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ss06/vegetables.html)

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