When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

AICR Food Facts  >  Foods That Fight Cancer

Broccoli & Cruciferous Vegetables

The Cancer Research

The link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention is relatively well-studied.

Lab studies showed several ways that sulforaphane, formed from glucosinolates in broccoli, could thwart the development and progression of prostate cancer. Limited human intervention trials support this potential, however, population studies that followed men for 9 to 22 years showed no link with total – or any form – of prostate cancer so far.

 

Interpreting the data

After a systematic review of the global scientific literature, AICR/WCRF analyzed how cruciferous vegetables and their nutrients affect the risk of developing cancer.

  • Evidence categorized as “probable” means there is strong research showing a causal relationship to cancer—either decreasing or increasing the risk. The research must include quality human studies that meet specific criteria and biological explanations for the findings.
  • A probable judgment is strong enough to justify recommendations.
  • Genetic differences mean that cruciferous vegetables’ isothiocyanate compounds remain in the body longer—and provide more benefits —in some people than in others.
  • There is probable evidence that foods containing dietary fiber DECREASE the risk of:
    • colorectal cancer
  • There is probable evidence that a diet high in non-starchy vegetables and fruits DECREASES the risk of:
    • mouth, pharynx, nasopharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung, stomach and colorectal (aerodigestive) cancers
  • Evidence categorized as “limited suggestive” means results are generally consistent in overall conclusions, but it’s rarely strong enough to justify recommendations to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Limited evidence suggests that non-starchy vegetables may DECREASE the risk of:
    • estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer and bladder cancer.
  • Limited evidence suggests that foods containing carotenoids may DECREASE the risk of:
    • Lung and estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancers
  • Limited evidence suggests that foods containing beta-carotene may DECREASE the risk of:
    • Lung cancer
  • Limited evidence suggests that foods containing vitamin C may DECREASE the risk of:

• Lung cancer (in people who smoke) and colon cancer

Sourec: AICR/WCRF. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, 2018.

Ongoing Areas of Investigation

  • Tips for Selection, Storage and Preparation
    Selection:
    • Choose compact, firm heads heavy for their size with no soft spots and no off-odors.
    • Green leaves should be fresh and firm with no yellowing.
    • Turnips are sweetest when small.
    Storage:
    • Wait to wash until just before use.
    Preparation Ideas:
    • Cook just until tender-crisp, with greens still bright. Overcooking leads to strong odors and a less attractive color.
    • Add to soup, or make them the star on their own.
    • Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies can also be delicious served raw. Try cauliflower or broccoli dipped in hummus or a spicy peanut butter sauce. If the flavor of Brussels sprouts, for example, is too strong to enjoy raw, steam or blanch briefly, cool quickly in ice water and serve cold.

References

  1. Livingstone TL, Beasy G, Mills RD, et al. Plant Bioactives and the Prevention of Prostate Cancer: Evidence from Human Studies. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2245.
  2. Petimar J, Wilson KM, Wu K, et al. A Pooled Analysis of 15 Prospective Cohort Studies on the Association between Fruit, Vegetable, and Mature Bean Consumption and Risk of Prostate Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. 2017;26(8):1276-1287.
  3. Baenas N, Marhuenda J, García-Viguera C, Zafrilla P, Moreno DA. Influence of Cooking Methods on Glucosinolates and Isothiocyanates Content in Novel Cruciferous Foods. Foods (Basel, Switzerland). 2019;8(7):257.
  4. Nugrahedi PY, Verkerk R, Widianarko B, Dekker M. A Mechanistic Perspective on Process-Induced Changes in Glucosinolate Content in Brassica Vegetables: A Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015;55(6):823-838.
  5. Oliviero T, Verkerk R, Dekker M. Isothiocyanates from Brassica Vegetables—Effects of Processing, Cooking, Mastication, and Digestion. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018;62(18):1701069.
  6. Soares A, Carrascosa C, Raposo A. Influence of Different Cooking Methods on the Concentration of Glucosinolates and Vitamin C in Broccoli. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 2017;10(8):1387-1411.
  7. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report 2018. Wholegrains, vegetables and fruit and the risk of cancer. Available at: dietandcancerreport.org.
  8. Bohn T. Carotenoids, Chronic Disease Prevention and Dietary Recommendations. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 2017;87(3-4):121-130.
  9. Kaulmann A, Bohn T. Carotenoids, inflammation, and oxidative stress–implications of cellular signaling pathways and relation to chronic disease prevention. Nutr Res. 2014;34(11):907-929.
  10. Bouayed J, Bohn T. Exogenous antioxidants – Double-edged swords in cellular redox state: Health beneficial effects at physiologic doses versus deleterious effects at high doses. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2010;3(4):228-237.
  11. Buscemi S, Corleo D, Di Pace F, Petroni ML, Satriano A, Marchesini G. The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health. Nutrients. 2018;10(9):1321.
  12. Thomas SE, Johnson EJ. Xanthophylls. Advances in Nutrition. 2018;9(2):160-162.
  13. Moran NE, Mohn ES, Hason N, Erdman JW, Jr, Johnson EJ. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Impacting Absorption, Metabolism, and Health Effects of Dietary Carotenoids. Advances in Nutrition. 2018;9(4):465-492.
  14. Balic A, Mokos M. Do We Utilize Our Knowledge of the Skin Protective Effects of Carotenoids Enough? Antioxidants (Basel). 2019;8(8):259.
  15. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press;2000.
  16. Lu JM, Lin PH, Yao Q, Chen C. Chemical and molecular mechanisms of antioxidants: experimental approaches and model systems. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. 2010;14(4):840–860.
  17. Lachance JC, Radhakrishnan S, Madiwale G, Guerrier S, Vanamala JKP. Targeting hallmarks of cancer with a food-system–based approach. Nutrition. 2020;69:110563.
  18. Li W, Guo Y, Zhang C, et al. Dietary Phytochemicals and Cancer Chemoprevention: A Perspective on Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Epigenetics. Chem Res Toxicol. 2016;29(12):2071-2095.
  19. Gupta P, Kim B, Kim SH, Srivastava SK. Molecular targets of isothiocyanates in cancer: recent advances. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014;58(8):1685-1707.
  20. Montgomery M, Srinivasan A. Epigenetic Gene Regulation by Dietary Compounds in Cancer Prevention. Advances in Nutrition. 2019;10(6):1012-1028.
  21. Bishop KS, Ferguson LR. The interaction between epigenetics, nutrition and the development of cancer. Nutrients. 2015;7(2):922-947.
  22. Thomson CA, Ho E, Strom MB. Chemopreventive properties of 3,3′-diindolylmethane in breast cancer: evidence from experimental and human studies. Nutr Rev. 2016;74(7):432-443.
  23. Pieroth R, Paver S, Day S, Lammersfeld C. Folate and Its Impact on Cancer Risk. Current Nutrition Reports. 2018;7(3):70-84.
  24. Gibellini L, Pinti M, Nasi M, et al. Quercetin and cancer chemoprevention. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:591356.
  25. Aune D. Plant Foods, Antioxidant Biomarkers, and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality: A Review of the Evidence. Advances in Nutrition. 2019;10(Supplement_4):S404-S421.
  26. Farvid MS, Chen WY, Rosner BA, Tamimi RM, Willett WC, Eliassen AH. Fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer incidence: Repeated measures over 30 years of follow-up. International Journal of Cancer. 2019;144:1496-1510.
  27. Aune D, Keum N, Giovannucci E, et al. Dietary intake and blood concentrations of antioxidants and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;108(5):1069-1091.
  28. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Expert Report 2018. Other dietary exposures and the risk of cancer. (Including Systematic Literature Reviews) Available Available at dietandcancerreport.com.
  29. Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality—a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol. 2017;46(3):1029-1056.
  30. Gerhauser C. Impact of dietary gut microbial metabolites on the epigenome. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2018;373(1748):20170359.
  31. Liu B, Mao Q, Cao M, Xie L. Cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of prostate cancer: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Urology. 2012;19(2):134-141.
  32. Norat T, Vieira AR, Chan D, et al. The Associations Between Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Risk of Prostate Cancer. WCRF/AICR Systematic Literature Review Continuous Update Project Report. London: World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research;2014.
  33. Liu X, Lv K. Cruciferous vegetables intake is inversely associated with risk of breast cancer: A meta-analysis. The Breast. 2013;22(3):309-313.
  34. Kim Y-I. Folate and cancer: a tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;107(2):139-142.
  35. Folate: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/Updated July 19, 2019. Accessed December 9, 2019.

 

[recipes]
Close
Cancer Health Check:

Are you doing everything you can to protect yourself?