We all know that a healthy diet which includes lots of fresh fruit and veg is of great importance in staying healthy and preventing cancer. Here is a selection of recent studies which offer further illumination on the effects of diet.

Eat your greens!

Phenethyl isothiocyanate, a chemical found in brassicas (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, watercress) has potent anti-cancer properties via multiple mechanisms including causing cell death and preventing development of blood supply to the tumour. A recent study involved a group of cancer survivors showing high blood levels of the chemical after ingestion of watercress (University of Southampton press conference, 14th Sept. 2010).

Other brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage contain indole-3-carbinol which can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and probably cells from the prostate, liver and colon (Wu et al., 2010)

An apple a day?

Initial studies suggest that apple peel has potent anticancer effects via several possible mechanisms (Reagan-Shaw et al., 2010) and even better if your apples aren’t sprayed with pesticides!


Pomegranate slows the growth of tumours and cancer cells in breast and prostate cancer and a trial in prostate cancer showed it showed progression (Pantuck  et al,2006); it’s also a potent antioxidant and antiatherosclerotic.  A glass of pomegranate juice is an easy way to incorporate the fruit into your diet.

Orange peel

D-limonene is found in citrus peel and has anticancer properties in breast cancer as it accumulates in fatty tissue. A recent study showed that ingesting d-limonene leads to accumulation in the body, supporting the use of citrus peel in the diet to aid breast cancer prevention. Use the peel of organic oranges and add a bit of the zest to salad dressing, tea or juice! (Miller et al., 2010)



Pantuck AJ, Leppert JT, Zomorodian N, Aronson W, Hong J, Barnard RJ, Seeram N, Liker H, Wang H, Elashoff R, Heber D, Aviram M, Ignarro L, Belldegrun A. (2006) ‘Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer’. Clin Cancer Res. 12(13):4018-26.

Reagan-Shaw S, Eggert D, Mukhtar H, Ahmad N. (2010) ‘Antiproliferative effects of apple peel extract against cancer cells’. Nutr Cancer. May;62(4):517-24

Wu Y, Feng X, Jin Y, Wu Z, Hankey W, Paisie C, Li L, Liu F, Barsky SH, Zhang W, Ganju R, Zou X. (2010) ‘A novel mechanism of indole-3-carbinol effects on breast carcinogenesis involves induction of Cdc25A degradation’. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 3(7):818-28.

Miller JA, Hakim IA, Chew W, Thompson P, Thomson CA, Chow HH. (2010) ‘Adipose tissue accumulation of d-limonene with the consumption of a lemonade preparation rich in d-limonene content’. Nutr Cancer. 62(6):783-8.