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Do some foods prevent or cure cancer?

There is no one miracle food that can prevent or cure cancer, but your overall diet can affect your cancer risk. About one-third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Eating well is all about balance. Specific types of food, not specific foods, can reduce or increase the risk of cancer. For example, eating plenty of fibre can help maintain a healthy body weight, which reduces the risk of cancer. But eating processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. The foods we eat also help us get to and stay at a healthy weight, which reduces cancer risk.

At one time, researchers focused on studying specific food components that they thought protected against cancer. However, scientists are now taking a broader approach - they're looking at a combination of food components that protect against cancer, not individual food components. Understanding the links between diet and cancer is difficult because we consume thousands of dietary components every day.

For more information about how foods affect cancer risk, see our Nutrition and Fitness section.

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