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The top cancer-preventing foods, according to Huntsman Cancer Institute

Posted at 11:25 AM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 13:25:32-05

Grace Gough, a registered dietitian from the Huntsman Cancer Institute, talks about what foods you should incorporate into your diet in order to prevent cancer. She even shares a recipe for a super healthy black bean and quinoa salad.

How to have a healthy, cancer-preventative diet

- Eat with color. This basically means eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of all colors. This is how you get the different phytonutrients that are great for cancer prevention. You need your greens and yellows and reds. And eating the skins is important - you find a lot of nutrients in the skins. Frozen veggies are also great - no less healthy than raw veggies, and inexpensive.

- Limit red meat intake. A higher intake of red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.) can typically lead to more GI-related cancers. The standard recommendation is to eat less than 18 oz. a week.

- Eat lean meats & proteins. Include plant-based proteins. So if you're not eating a lot of red meats, where should you get your proteins? Lean meats like chicken are great. Poultry is even leaner without the skin, so it's great to go skinless. It's recommended to eat fish a couple times a week. It's great to add in more plant-based proteins too, like dry beans (kidney and black), edamame, lentils, peas and tofu.

- Limit smoked, preserved, salted and cured meats. This includes many types of ham, bacon and hot dogs. Most of these meats contain nitrates that are associated with a higher risk of GI-related cancers. The way meats are prepared matters in cancer prevention.

- Choose whole grains. Whole grains are cancer-fighting. They are loaded with fiber, which are great for colon cancer prevention. Fiber is also great for controlling your blood sugar. And just like fruits and veggies, whole grains offer phytonutrients.

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa yields about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed, grated or finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 cup  chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quarter inch chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 6 green onions, root removed, white and part of the greens chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 handful of cilantro, rough chopped (about 1/3 cup)


Cook the quinoa to package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lime, salt and cayenne together in the bottom of a large bowl to let the flavors marry while you chop the veggies. Rinse and drain the black beans, then chop the veggies; the key is to make the peppers and onions about the same size as the beans. Add the cooked quinoa, beans and veggies to the bowl and gently fold it all together with the dressing. The quinoa can be warm, room temp, or cold when you make the dish. We suggest letting it chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. It tastes best served room temperature or chilled.

For more info on cancer prevention, visit the Huntsman Cancer Institute website.