How to Eat to Reduce Cancer Risk

What does the best available balance of evidence say right now about what to eat and what to avoid to reduce your risk of cancer? 

In 1982, a landmark report on diet, nutrition, and cancer was released by the National Academy of Sciences. It was “the first major, institutional, science-based report on this topic.” The report started out saying that “scientists must be especially careful in their choice of words whenever they are not totally confident about their conclusions.” For example, by that time, it had become “absolutely clear” that cigarettes were killing people. “If the population been persuaded to stop smoking when the association with lung cancer was first reported, these cancer deaths would not be occurring.” If you wait for absolute certainty, millions of people could die in the meantime, which is why, sometimes, you have to invoke the precautionary principle.

For example, “emphasizing fruits and vegetables to

The Link Between Chicken Consumption and Urinary Tract Infections

Only about one in four people have heard of Campylobacter, compared to 90 percent who are familiar with Salmonella. “Although the incidence of these two…gastrointestinal infections is amazingly high,” infecting more than a million Americans every year, “it is even outranked by the incidence of infection caused by extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC)”—a bug even fewer people have likely heard of.

Extraintestinal? That means outside of the intestines, as in causing bladder infections, and pathogenic, meaning disease-causing. Indeed, E. coli results in millions of infections annually. As I discuss in my video Friday Favorites: Urinary Tract Infections from Eating Chicken, “multiple lines of evidence indicate poultry as a major food animal reservoir for urinary tract infections”—that is, a source for the bacteria that cause UTIs in people. (You may recall I explored this several years ago, as discussed in my video Avoiding Chicken to Avoid

Blueberries to Benefit Mood and Mobility

The consumption of berries can enhance “beneficial signaling in the brain.” Plant foods are our primary source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, but some plant foods may be better than others. As I’ve explored before, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed us that one cup of blueberries a day can improve cognition among older adults, and the same happens in children after just a single meal with blueberries, though two cups of berries may work better than one.

As I discuss in my video Benefits of Blueberries for Mood and Mobility, that single hit of berries may also improve mood. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, young subjects were asked a series of questions, such as Are you very slightly or not at all, a little, moderately, quite a bit, or extremely interested? Excited? Strong? Ashamed? And so on. As you can see in the graph below and at

Is Cannabis a Cancer Cure?

Some studies on mice show that cannabis makes cancer better, while others show it makes cancer worse. What did the one and only human clinical trial to date find?

“Cannabis and cancer: reality or pipe dream quackery?” I tackle that question in my video Can Cannabis Cure Cancer?. “Among alternative cancer treatments, cannabis inhabits a peculiarly politicised position, hailed as a suppressed panacea by some, denounced as a psychosis-inducing and illegal drug by others….At the far end of the spectrum are those who insist cannabis…has helped cure their cancer.” “The promise, and even the hype, can reach hysterical proportions, with claims of cannabis cancer cures circulating in cyberspace at a furious pace.”

Sometimes, a patient will have a cancer that is curable with conventional therapies, such as surgically removing it before it spreads, but chooses to forgo that treatment in favor a purported cure that has a “large number

Coffee Benefits Blocked by Adding Milk?

I open my video Does Adding Milk Block the Benefits of Coffee? with a graph from a study of mortality versus coffee consumption that suggests coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers. Why might that be? Coffee may have beneficial effects on “inflammation, lung function, insulin sensitivity, and depression,” perhaps due in part to a class of polyphenol phytonutrients found in coffee beans called chlorogenic acids, which have been proven to have favorable effects in studies where it was given alone in pill form. Indeed, they have shown beneficial effects, such as “acute blood pressure-lowering activity,” dropping the top and bottom blood pressure numbers within hours of consumption, as you can see in the graph below and at 0:40 in my video. So, which coffee has the most chlorogenic acids? We know how to choose the reddest tomato and the brightest orange sweet potato, indicating that plant pigments are antioxidants