Though it’s the fourth most common cancer, stomach cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer — primarily because it’s so hard to detect. Fortunately, science is uncovering the power of produce to prevent this deadly disease in the first place. A recent study in the journal Nutrition and Cancerdemonstrated that those with the highest vegetable intake have a 50% lower risk of developing stomach cancer. The chart below graphically demonstrates just how dramatically your risk drops as your veggie intake increases.

Tomatoes, broccoli sprouts, pumpkin, spinach, garlic and cabbage are among the vegetables with potential anti-cancer prowess. Your best bet is to eat more of the veggies you like — aiming for two cups daily. Not only will they provide the nutrients needed to defend against the kind of DNA damage that can lead to cancer, they’re your best weapons against obesity, which can nearly double your risk of stomach cancer.

Bonus: In addition to upping your fruit and veggie intake, avoid processed meat — regular consumption of which is linked to a 38% increased risk of stomach cancer.

Published January 1, 2010