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

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