PTBOCanada Featured Post: Dr. Brenda Tapp On Cancer Fighting Foods

Dr. Brenda Tapp

Dr. Brenda Tapp

Everyone has someone in their life that has been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form. It is almost unavoidable.

What if you knew there were some simple dietary changes you could make to help prevent it from affecting you? Dr. Brenda Tapp of the Peterborough Centre of Naturopathic Medicine specializes in complementary cancer care.

She is the only naturopath in town registered with the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (learn more about her in her first feature post with us here). In this column, she teaches us about cancer fighting foods supported by scientific research.

Nutrition therapy is playing a bigger role in cancer prevention and treatment. Research indicates that genetics causes only 5-10% of all cancers, while diet/lifestyle causes 90-95%. Diet alone accounts for up to 35%, which surprisingly surpasses tobacco as a cause. This means that 35% of cancers can be prevented by dietary changes alone! Specific cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer can be reduced by an even higher percentage of up to 75%.

Also, the National Cancer Institute states that patients who are well nourished before and during cancer treatment have a better prognosis, recover faster and reduced rate of complications. This is something so simple to work on and take control of.


1. Consume Brassicas Daily: The brassica family of veggies includes cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, turnip, radish, watercress, etc. All of these veggies contain several phytochemicals (plant based comounds) that reduce the risk of hormonally driven cancers, improves liver detoxification, and prevents DNA damage.
How much is needed? 1 cup per day is all that is required to benefit from these veggies.

2. Do Not Avoid Soy: Soy contains compounds that act as phyto-estrogens (plant based estrogens). Soy acts as a hormone buffer by displacing the body's stronger estrogen, reducing the risk of hormone sensitive cancers. Soy also contains a compound called genistein which inhibits the growth of blood vessels in tumours helping to starve them of nutrients.
How much is needed? 100 grams per day of organic soy (tofu, tempeh, soy milk).

3. Garlic, Onions, and Leeks: The garlic family of plants can actually prevent the initiation, promotion and recurrence of various cancers. The high concentration of selenium can inhibit cancer growth, and the high concentration of sulfur-compounds aids in liver detoxification.
How much is needed? 3 cloves of raw garlic per day. Try it in a salad, or mix things up with a stir fry!

4. Consume Flaxseeds: Studies have shown flax to reduce breast and prostate cancer cell proliferation, increase apoptosis (cell death), and decrease tumour size. It is also capable of increasing the success rate of Herceptin and Tamoxifen (medications prescribed in some cases of breast cancer).  How much is needed? 2 tbsp per day. (Note: Seeds must be ground and can be added to cereal, smoothie, salad or yogurt.)

5. Consume Shiitake Mushrooms: This particular mushroom contains a compound that increases the number of macrophages, T-killer cells, and T-helper cells (3 different types of white blood cells), and prolongs the life of some cancer patients.
How much is needed? Consume 3 to 4 mushrooms per day.

6. Spice up Your Life: NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa B) is one of cancer’s master switches. These spices should all be incorporated into your daily diet to prevent this gene from being turned on: basil, pepper, caraway, cardamom, chilli pepper, cinnamon, clove, coriander, fennel, ginger, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary and turmeric.
How much is needed? 1 tbsp per day.

7. Lycopene: Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit. Lycopene is more bioavailable when lightly cooked. Tomatoes can worsen arthritis, so increasing other lycopene containing foods is beneficial.
How much is needed? 1 cup of lycopene containing food per day.

With all of this info, how can you not want to make even a few small delicious changes to benefit your health?

This is the second in a series with Dr. Brenda Tapp of of the Peterborough Centre of Naturopathic Medicine. Read her first column here.

If you have any questions about your health or about naturopathic medicine, Dr. Tapp would be happy to answer them. For more info on Dr. Tapp, go to:

Phone: 705.761.6596
Twitter: @PtboNaturopath
Facebook: PeterboroughCentreOfNaturopathicMedicine

**If your business/organization is interested in a PTBOCanada Featured Post Advertorial, email our Sales Director Aaron Elliott at for info!