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Which foods are powerful disease fighters?

September 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Friday's episode of Dr. Oz, we learned that certain foods can be powerful disease fighters.

So which fruit is the best immune booster? And which herb has a special chemical that acts on preventing cancer?

There are more than 2,000 different fruits, and even more veggies. So when it comes to all of these choices, breast cancer survivor Mary McCue only chooses the best of the best.

"Ever since I had breast cancer, every food item I eat, I'm looking for maximum benefit," said McCue.

"The real foods," said Rebecca Katz, author of "Cancer-Fighting Kitchen." "The gorgeous foods, the healthy foods, you know they don't have a lot of stickers and a lot packaging. They are just what they are, provide us with everything we need to survive and thrive."

Katz used her training as a chef to help her father through throat cancer. Now she uses food to help heal others.

Tomatoes are full of lycopene and help to ward off breast and cervical cancer. Kale contains vitamin C, calcium and vitamin K.

Research shows women who eat diets rich in vitamin K are at a lower risk of osteoporosis, and it only has 36 calories per cooked cup.

Rounding out Katz's top choices are sweet potatoes, squash, dark berries, beets and carrots. But her number one cancer killing pick?

"Mint," she said. "This is one of the biggest cancer fighting foods. I can't believe it when I found out about this. It has a phytochemical that is really good at what I call turning the master cancer cell switch off."

It is just one small choice that can make a big difference in your health.

"We make a really healthy connection to food, we make a really healthy connection to life," said Katz.

Now you know what to eat, and how much you eat is just as important. One serving size of fruit equals a half of grapefruit or 12 grapes. As for veggies, one serving size is one medium potato or eight carrot sticks.

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