How a Unique Café is Using Food to Fight Cancer


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What you eat can affect your cancer risk.

That’s important for Latinos, for whom cancer is the No. 1 killer.

Cervical, liver, and prostate cancer are some of the most common types that disproportionately affect Latinos.

How can food help?

Your diet can help combat cancer. This is not a new concept—the team behind SaludToday has even published a cancer-fighting cookbook along these lines.

But one hospital is taking the idea to the next level.

Food vs. Cancer

At the Kettering Cancer Center, part of the Kettering Health Network, in Kettering, Ohio (1.9% Latino population), planners have created an on-site healthy food café with a menu full of antioxidant-rich, high-protein foods, food management reports.

The menu is ideal for cancer patients.

When planning the menu, Cheryl Shimmin, the network director of culinary and nutrition care, sought the advice of the staff oncology dietitians to help find “foods and ingredients which play a role in preventing and treating cancer.”

What Shimmin and her team came up with was a menu that offered 25 foods with cancer-fighting components, including: beans, legumes, whole grains, and fruits and veggies like apples, cherries, dark leafy greens, cranberries, garlic and grapefruit.

The patient advisory council who proposed the café, which is called Boulevard Bistro, wanted to make sure the menu offered dishes that weren’t only healthy, but ones that people really wanted to eat.

Salads, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, coffee drinks, and smoothie bowls are all on the menu. The menu already is a big hit with patients.

“When we had our open houses, it was very heartwarming when people from the community came in and said, ‘We needed something like this,’” Shimmin said in an interview with food management. “That affirmed for me that we hit the nail on the head.”

What Can You Do?

While some cancers are genetically inherited, others are also preventable by eating healthier foods.

Latinos everywhere can easily incorporate some of the “top” cancer-fighting foods into their everyday diets. Some of the best of these superfoods are:

  • Berries: Blackberries and blueberries in particular are loaded with high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins which slow down the growth of “premalignant” cells.
  • Nuts: Walnuts have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancers cells, which have shown positive signs of slowing cancer cell growth.
  • Beans: Black beans and navy beans have been found in several studies to significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Salud Today also has featured several examples of how others are using food in their fight against cancer:

Cultural Food Faves with Cancer-Fighting Flare

Using Healthy Food to Fight Cancer

San Antonio Study Tests Disease- and Cancer-Fighting Foods

Explore More:

Healthcare Access

By The Numbers By The Numbers



Expected rise in Latino cancer cases in coming years

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