Cancer. The mere mention of the word makes us shrink in fear. It's like a death sentence. It's the leading cause of death in the United States, overtaking heart disease. But take heart, recent statistics show a decline in the incidence of both diseases. Now, that's heartening news! And the American Cancer Society reports that half of all these cancer deaths can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle (assuming you already lead a healthy one). Now, that's doubly heartening news! Opting for a healthier (and heartier) lifestyle means you should stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, according to a recent article published in Healthy Options lifestyle newsdigest.

For starters, let's get to know more about the top 10 anti-cancer foods. Take this list (and please take them often):

1) Tomatoes. You probably know that tomatoes are oozing with lycopene, which helps ward off the free radicals associated with lung and digestive cancers as well as prostate, ovarian and lung cancers. Lycopene is also found in watermelon and pink grapefruit.

2) Broccoli sprouts. For a veggie that's so small you can hold it with one hand, this one's got a fistful of antioxidant benefits that last for days. In the same family of cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. Their sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol protect against prostate, bladder, colon, pancreatic, gastric, breast, and other hormone-related cancers. Indeed, it's the ultimate baby vegetable, baby!

3) Berries. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, cranberries, and grapes are all berry-rich in anthocyanins that help repair and protect DNA.

4) Soybeans. They're soy-good for your health as they've got isoflavones (like genistein) that prevent – and treat – prostate cancer. Soybeans may also reduce breast cancer risk. Soy is truly beanificial to our health!

5) Tea. Tea – make that green and black – is steeped in powerful compounds that, according to countless studies, may lower the risk of several types of cancer. Care for tea?

6) Pumpkin. This Halloween symbol – and Cinderella's chariot – has magical powers indeed. But not too many know that this superfood is a super-rich source of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, two carotenoids that work hard to fight lung and ovarian cancers. Also rich in carotenoids are carrots, yams, squash, melons, and sweet red peppers.

7) Spinach. Aye, aye, Popeye was right – spinach's a-okay. Its active antioxidant – lutein – may even help KO cancers of the liver, ovaries, colon, and prostate. Lutein is also found in kale and other leafy greens.

8) Garlic. The allium family, to which garlic belongs, works to boost the body's antioxidant defense systems to protect against stomach, esophageal, and breast cancers. Meet the other members of the family: scallions and onions. Truly, in onion, there is strength.

9) Pineapple. This pine cone-like fruit with its coveted sweet pulp contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme – bromelain – that may inhibit the growth of malignant lung and breast cancer cells.

10) Apple. Yes, there's a mouthful of wisdom in the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Studies show that quercetin – a flavonoid abundant in apples – prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. The phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibits the reproduction of colon cancer cells. According to the National Cancer Institute, eating an apple a day may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50 percent. Excuse me while I bite into my apple.

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