7 Cancer-Fighting Foods From Around the World

World Food Map

A New Rainbow of Color

There’s a world of healthy cancer-preventive foods out there. Use these international favorites as an introduction to new spices, fruits, vegetables and more. It’s a great way to jazz up your plant-based diet that can help you get to – and stay at– a healthy weight.

We also have ideas on how you can recreate or adapt the international favorites at home.



smorrebrodSmørrebrød – Denmark

Smørrebrød is a traditional open-faced sandwich. It’s often made with dark whole-grain rye bread and topped with nutrient-rich beets (or other veggies), herring and a poached egg.

Try it: Use a high-fiber rye bread, which plays a role in reducing cancer risk. Top with a few oven roasted root veggies and herring – rich in omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent source of vitamin D.




cortadoCortado – Spain, Portugal, Latin America

From the Spanish word cotar, meaning cut, a cortado is espresso cut with milk. It’s a small (3-4 ounce) drink usually made of a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of milk added to espresso. The caramel sweetness of the espresso paired with the steamed milk means you may not even need to add sugar.

Try it: Coffee is one of AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer. If you don’t have an espresso machine, there’s a good chance your local coffee shop will make it for you


paellaPaella – Spain

This savory one-pan rice dish is as varied as the chefs that make them. Paella (pronounced pah-ey-yuh) essentials are rice flavored with saffron and garlic, mixed with veggies and protein and cooked in a shallow pan. Traditional paella uses chicken or rabbit, white beans, and snails. Other variations include shrimp, mussels, and clams.

Try it: Vegetarian Paella features brown rice and is packed with vegetables.


Mercimek Köftesi – Red Lentil Kofte (Turkey)

Köfte refers to ground meat (lamb or beef) or vegetable balls seasoned with plenty of herbs and spices. The vegetarian version is made with red lentils and fine bulgur, sprinkled with parsley and green onions.

Red lentil legumes provide protein and bulgur is a whole grain packed with fiber, which is linked to decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

Try it: Try high-school winner’s Mediterranean Faux-Lafel as is, or add some cooked lentils and your favorite spices.

phoPho – Vietnam

Go to any home or market in Vietnam and you’ll likely find some variation of this noodle dish. Pho consists of a flavorful clear broth, small

amounts of thinly cut meat such as beef or chicken, and the namesake linguini-shaped rice noodles – garnished with herbs, green onions, and bean sprouts piled high on top.

Try it: Use our primer on creating delicious soups to customize your own light and satisfying Pho dish with different add-ins.

cherimoyaCherimoya – Central and South America

You can now find this sweet and creamy fruit at many US markets. Tasting like a cross between a banana and pineapple, cherimoya is known as the ice cream fruit. A cheriyoma will give you plenty of fiber, vitamins C, vitamin B6, and riboflavin and potassium.

Try it: Eat it fresh, add to fruit salads or chill it and eat it with a spoon. You can remove the seeds, freeze for 4 to 5 hours then blend to make a creamy cherimoya sorbet.

mojo-sauceMojo Sauce– Cuba

Mojo refers to any sauce made from garlic, olive oil, spices and citrus such as orange juice. It adds flavor to everything to seafood, pork and of course, Cuban sandwiches.

Try it: Create your own mojo marinade with an assortment of herbs and spices–cilantro, oregano, cumin and garlic. In AICR’s Mojo marinated grilled turkey, the citrus tenderizes the turkey and keeps it moist throughout grilling.

Find more nutrition information, tips, cancer-related research, and recipes in our Foods That Fight Cancer

Connect with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and share your ideas.

What Chefs Don’t Throw Away That May Surprise You


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Posted on March 13, 2015 by Tauryn

Nose-to-tail cookery: it’s the new trend of many well-known chefs that uses all parts of the animal – from the nose to the tail, and yes the parts in between – to create delicious dishes. While this idea may not have mass appeal, it’s a great concept to consider when it comes to your fruits and vegetables.celery

Have you ever eaten a leaf from a celery stalk or sweet potato plant? Have you thought about the cancer-protective nutrients that could be hidden in those scrawny looking leaves?

Consider this: the most commonly discarded parts of vegetables are often packed with nutrients. Take broccoli for example, the stems are packed with vitamin C—a cancer-protective nutrient. Don’t Toss Those Cancer-Fighting Veggie Parts offers more examples of the parts of vegetables you could be missing out on.bigstock-celery-696944-300x225

Interested in what chefs do?
– Chefs often throw parts of fruits, vegetables, or meats that are not going to be used on the day’s menu into Family Meal. Family Meal is the dinner that is prepared for staff. This meal usually involves a bit of creativity in using the various leftovers, but often yields something great!
– Stems from herbs can be cut up and used in salads, but in restaurants, they may also be added to fresh salsas.
– You’ll also find chefs saving vegetable scraps and peels to simmer in water for stock. Many recipes – from soups to rice – call for a liquid in some form. Making your own vegetable stock allows you control over what goes in it and helps in adding another layer of flavor to your dish.

Creative ideas for the home cook:
– Don’t throw away your celery leaves! Though more bitter than the celery rib, the leaves too, make a great addition to stir-frys, and it adds a pop of green!
– Broccoli stems are great to reserve too. They can become a light and refreshing salad by simply shaving them with a peeler to create “ribbons” and tossing them with lemon juice, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Now that you have some know-how, grab your fruits and vegetables and give all parts of them a try. Braised Broccoli Leaves is an easy introduction to using the less common parts of your vegetables on your new found vegetable journey. Enjoy digging in! Do, however, be aware that there are some parts of some fruits and vegetables – such as white potato plant leaves – that are poisonous to us.

You can look here for more information on edible plant parts, but if you’re in doubt, throw it out.

Visit AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer that includes some great fruits and vegetables whose roots and stems are edible and quite nutritious.

What are your creative ways to incorporate underused parts of veggies?

Nutrition Powerhouses

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Worth a Hill of Beans: Nutrition Powerhouses on Your Plate

 varities of beansIf you want to add color, flavor and nutrition to your meals, and not empty your wallet – read on. We spill the beans on an inexpensive, cancer-protective, global dietary staple much underused in the United States.

If you’re like many Americans, you likely only eat beans in chili, as baked beans or in “Tex-Mex” dishes such as burritos or enchiladas. But go beyond those dishes and you can find dozens of dry bean varieties that add color, nutrition and great flavor to every course in your meal.

Cooking with Beans: Convenient and Cost Effective

Dry beans are one of the most economical sources of protein, whether you purchase canned or uncooked. Canned beans are great to have on hand. Add chickpeas to a fresh garden salad or stir-fry black beans with colorful vegetables and brown rice for a quick meal. One serving of canned beans costs a mere 25 cents. Buy them in bags, cook them yourself and you’ll pay about one-half the price. Read More

Foods That Fight Cancer

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No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.

Foods Can Fight Cancer Both Directly …

In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-ca


ncer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.

… And Indirectly

Carrying excess body fat increases the risk of seven cancers. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories, which help us get to and stay a healthy weight. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber and moderate in calories, which also help in weight management efforts.
That is why The Cancer Fighting Chef recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.
Research on foods that fight cancer – and that may also aid cancer survival – is ongoing and active.

Ten Recommendations for Cancer Prevention

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These ten recommendations for cancer prevention are drawn from the WCRF/AICR Second Expert Report.

  1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
  2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.
  4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
  5. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
  6. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
  7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
  8. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
  9. * It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.
  10. * After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

*Special Population Recommendations

And always remember – do not smoke or chew tobacco.


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Chef Hat Over Ribbon
On January 15, 2009, while Capt. Sully was performing his “Miracle on the Hudson”, I was on the phone with my doctor getting the news. He said I had Lymphoma and I needed to go for a CT scan and a biopsy. A needle biopsy of my neck did not get enough tissue for a diagnosis, so I had to back for an operation. They took a whole lymph node to test. The CT Scan confirmed enlarged lymph nodes and the biopsy refined the diagnosis. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare cancer which my wife and I knew little about. As time went by, we learned much more about it and other cancers.
About 5.000 cases of Hodgkins Lymphoma are diagnosed every year and at this point in time 95% of those are cured. 1 out of 20 Hodgkins patients die from the cancer.
It’s been 5 years as of this posting and good news has been reported for the past 2 years. We’ve been given the “ALL CLEAR”. We’ve beaten the cancer and I am “cured”. No more Hodgkins, just a test periodically to see if it stays away. So what did it take to get from January 15, 2009 to today? A list in no particular order is as follows: blood tests, x-rays, examinations, a visit to the emergency room, CT scans, PET scans, a needle biopsy, a surgical biopsy, a bone marrow biopsy, pulmonary volume tests, MUGA scans, a PICC line insertion, nurses visits, a blood transfusion, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, neuropathy, pills and more pills, chemotherapy drugs, neupogen injections, radiation therapy and now follow-ups.
That’s my story, so far, in a nutshell. Now begins a new story. I have begun the fight to help as many people as will listen, and heed the word to avoid having a similar or more deadly outcome. To do this I will need to enlist the help of my family, friends and the worldwide community of chefs and others associated with the business of food. They will make available, for all, foods, high in cancer fighting ingredients by creating recipes and menu items for them.
I would like to ask for support from all who visit this website. Tell your friends about it and follow the guidelines found at thecancerfightingchef.com.