Great news for anyone concerned about ovarian cancer prevention: Ovarian cancer rates have continued to decrease, according to a 2018 report from the American Cancer Society. More great news: Simply eating the right foods is now proven to slash your odds of ever getting the disease.
What does a good ovarian cancer prevention diet look like?
Researchers have uncovered new ways to reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer — and they have made strides in figuring out how to catch it early while it’s very treatable and beatable. The most up-to-date, no-hassle strategies? Eat ovarian cancer prevention foods, such as the ones below.
Ginger destroys cancer cells.
University of Michigan researchers say ginger’s active compounds (gingerols) destroy cancerous ovarian cells the same way that chemotherapy drugs do, but without the side effects. The study-proven dose: two slices of candied ginger and one teaspoon fresh ginger or one-half teaspoon ground ginger daily.
Tomato juice cuts your risk 50 percent.
The canned juice is a great source of cancer-fighting carotenoids because the tough plant cell walls that surround those nutrients are broken down during processing, making them far easier to absorb. No wonder Harvard researchers report that simply sipping eight ounces of tomato juice daily cuts ovarian cancer risk in half.
Green tea protects your DNA.
This brew is rich in plant compounds that help prevent and repair the DNA damage that otherwise could kick-start the growth of cancerous cells in the ovaries, say Swedish researchers. And in their 15-year study, women who sipped 16 ounces of green tea every day were 46 percent less likely to ever get ovarian cancer — and each additional cup they drank trimmed their risk another 18 percent.
Peppers break down carcinogens.
All peppers — red, green, yellow, and orange — are packed with quercetin, a nutrient that bolsters the liver’s ability to break down carcinogens before they can harm the ovaries. A half-cup serving daily will do the trick, or you can enjoy other quercetin-rich foods, such as capers, onions, and unpeeled apples.
Nuts nix inflammation.
Snacking on one-third cup of your favorite nuts daily could reduce your ovarian cancer risk 18 percent, suggests research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. “Tissue inflammation often fuels the growth of ovarian cancers,” explains study co-author Tania Maffucci, PhD. “And nuts are rich in inflammation-taming nutrients, such as magnesium and alpha-linolenic acid.”
Belgian endive cuts off precancers.
Eating three cups weekly of this crunchy, pale, leafy green will slash your risk of ovarian cancer as much as 75 percent, reports the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Endive is chock-full of kaempferol, a substance that starves precancerous cells by cutting off the blood flow they need to grow, says study co-author Monique Mommers, PhD.
Tip: Try slicing it into rings and tossing it into salads, grill it whole to bring out its sweetness, or use the leaves as “scoops” for fillings, such as egg salad or guacamole.
Flax fuels your protection.
Sprinkling two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds over your yogurt, salads, cereal, or smoothies daily can cut your ovarian cancer risk 38 percent. The seeds are rich in lignans, compounds that protect ovaries from damaging estrogen surges.
What other ovarian cancer prevention steps can I take?
On top of eating all of these delicious foods, there are two other key lifestyle choices to consider when preventing ovarian cancer:
- Strengthen your immunity with zzzs. Getting to bed by 11 p.m. each night could reduce your risk of getting ovarian cancer as much as 32 percent, reveals a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study. “Having a regular bedtime increases your brain’s production of melatonin, a powerful anticancer hormone, ” explains integrative medicine physician Julie Chen, MD.
- Take vitamins C and E to reduce cancer risk 68 percent. Taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C and 400 international units of vitamin E daily could cut your risk of ovarian cancer 68 percent, the Journal of Nutrition reports. Both nutrients help shut down the enzymes that fuel the growth of abnormal cells, say Stanford University scientists.