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The Cancer-Fighting Garden: What To Plant & What to Eat

The Cancer-Fighting Garden: What To Plant & What to Eat



Shenell Malloy

Spring is in the air. March is a wonderful time to commit to a lifestyle that supports cancer prevention.

March is Colorectal & Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Research shows a direct connection between diet and cancer outcomes. And with the weather warming up, getting back into nature is just the ticket for combating the stress of a cancer diagnosis.

Being outside reduces stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension, and heart rates – all risk factors for disease. One of the most proactive ways to prevent cancer — while soaking up vitamin D — is planting an organic garden with cancer-fighting foods (just don’t skip the SPF).

Food is medicine and is the most critical thing you can control regarding your health. Moving to an organic, clean diet rich in nutrient-dense foods was one of the first changes we made after our cancer diagnosis.

The good news is you can get so many nutrient-rich foods and herbs in a variety of ways. If have the space and the time, you can have a bounty of cancer-fighting foods in your backyard. If you have a small space on a windowsill - that’s perfect for herbs. Just want a healthy grocery list for your next food run? We’ve got you covered.

Benefits Of Planting A Cancer-Fighting Garden

Growing a cancer-fighting garden is an excellent way to take the reins of your health. It provides access to fresh produce, a peaceful environment for self-care and mindful practices, and nutrient-dense foods with fewer toxins from pesticides or other chemicals used in commercial farming operations.

Not only that, but it's cost-effective and sustainable - so you can reap all its rewards without taking too much of a hit on your wallet. Here’s how to grow a cancer-fight garden, plus tips on what to plant and recipes for your bounty.  

Growing your own food allows you access to fresh, organic produce without any worry about potential additives or preservatives that can damage your health.  You can also customize what goes into your garden so you’re only consuming foods that will benefit your body and support healthy cells.

A Peaceful Environment

Gardening can be incredibly calming and therapeutic. It provides an opportunity for mindfulness while surrounded by nature – something we all need more of these days. Taking care of plants can give us purpose, which can help manage stress levels that could otherwise contribute to illnesses like cancer.

Nutrient-Dense Foods

When you grow your food, it’s much easier to ensure that the produce is nutrient dense since you know exactly how it was grown and what went into it (or didn't go into it).

This means less exposure to toxins from pesticides or other chemicals used in commercial farming operations. Plus, nutrient-rich foods have been shown time and again to fight off disease, including certain forms of cancer, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Cost Effective & Sustainable

Growing a home garden doesn’t just benefit our bodies; it helps the environment too. Home gardens are sustainable because they don’t require large amounts of energy or resources like commercial farms - making them both cost-effective AND eco-friendly. Plus, there's nothing quite like eating homegrown tomatoes straight from the vine.

Overall, growing a cancer-fighting garden is one small step towards taking control over our health outcomes. Not only does gardening provide us with nutritious produce but also peace within ourselves through its meditative qualities - something we all deserve more often than not.

Growing a cancer-fighting garden can be an empowering and healing experience that helps to reduce stress, improve nutrition, and provide positive energy.

What to Plant in Your Garden

When it comes to creating a cancer-fighting garden, there are a few things to know to get you started on the right path. Here are some foods worth looking into planting.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are great for fighting cancer due to their high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Alliums, such as garlic and onions, have been found to reduce the risk of certain cancers by half potentially. Herbs like turmeric and ginger contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can help prevent cancer cells from growing. Berries such as blueberries and raspberries are abundant in flavonoids, which act to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in our bodies.

In addition to these nutrient-rich edibles, other plants could be advantageous in warding off or managing cancer. Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, and collards are loaded with vitamins A & C, which can boost your immune system while providing antioxidant protection against cell damage.

Tomatoes boast lycopene, a substance that could help lower the chances of prostate cancer in men. Finally, carrots provide beta carotene, which helps protect against skin cancer when consumed regularly over time.

Growing nutrient-dense vegetables and herbs like these in your garden can help maximize the impact of your anti-cancer strategies. Now let's move on to learning how to plant and maintain these beneficial plants for maximum benefit.

Tips for Planting & Maintaining Your Garden

If you’re looking to grow a cancer-fighting garden, the first step is selecting the right location. Make sure it gets plenty of sunlight and has access to water. Preparing the soil is key; make sure it’s well-draining and free from weeds or debris.

For cancer-fighting benefits, select varieties of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Plant them in rows so they have enough space to spread out when they mature. Water regularly with a watering can or hose but don't overwater as this can cause root rot which will kill your plants.

Weeding often is important, too; pull up any unwanted weeds by hand rather than using chemicals that could be harmful if ingested through vegetables later on down the line.

Finally, controlling pests naturally is essential if you want an organic garden. Use companion planting (planting certain herbs near each other), like rosemary next to cabbage or sage near carrots, as natural pest deterrents. If all else fails, there are also some DIY recipes you can use, such as making a spray with soap flakes dissolved in water that kills aphids without harming your crops.

Grow A Cancer-Fighting Herb Garden

If you have a small space — or lack the strength or greenthumb to grow a full-scale garden — cancer-fighting herbs are a great alternative. Ohio State dietitian Candice Schreiber recommends these cancer-fighting herbs. Bonus, they are simple to grow at home!

  • Rosemary: Rosemary is rich in carnosol, a phytochemical that can slow cancer cell growth, strengthen immune functions, limit the production of cancer-related hormones and work as an antioxidant.
  • Thyme: Thyme contains terpenoids, a group of phytochemicals that can work as antioxidants and may protect cells from cancer.
  • Mint: Mint contains perillyl alcohol, which has been shown in lab studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  • Parsely: Much more than a garnish, parsley contains apigenin, another flavonoid that may play a role in preventing cancer.

Prefer to shop for cancer-fighting foods? Swipe what’s on our grocery list.

Recipes for Cancer-Fighting Meals

Cooking up a storm with cancer-fighting ingredients from your own garden can be an easy and delicious way to boost immunity.

From smoothies for breakfast, roasted vegetable soups for lunch, Brussels sprouts as a side dish to chia pudding desserts - all these recipes are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals.

Try some dishes utilizing vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices that have been demonstrated to possess anti-cancer characteristics.


Start the day off right with a superfood smoothie. Combine a banana, blueberries (rich in antioxidants), spinach (high in vitamin C), turmeric powder (known for anti-inflammatory effects) and honey/agave nectar to create an energizing smoothie. This smoothie is loaded with essential nutrients to keep you energized all day long.


A delicious lunch option is roasted vegetable soup made with carrots, celery, onions, garlic cloves (all rich in cancer-fighting compounds) and any other veggies you have on hand. Simply roast all of the vegetables until tender then blend them into a creamy soup using either chicken or vegetable broth as your base liquid. Top it off with freshly chopped parsley for added flavor.

Dinner Side Dish:

For dinner, try making roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil and lemon juice - both excellent sources of Vitamin C, which helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Sprinkle on some sea salt before roasting at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until golden brown; this will bring out their natural sweetness.

Creating a cancer-fighting garden offers the benefit of nutritious, anti-cancer edibles and an opportunity to relax and commune with nature. With some planning, dedication, and knowledge about what to plant in your garden and tips on how to maintain it properly, you will reap all the benefits of growing a cancer-fighting garden while nourishing yourself or a loved one diagnosed with cancer.

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