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Super Foods


City of Hope researchers are looking for new weapons in the battle against cancer — and some of them may sit on the grocer’s shelves.

Nutrition is important for health, and foods like mushrooms and pomegranates have a centuries-old place in traditional medicine across the world. Today, medical research is revealing just how powerful these foods can be.

City of Hope is uncovering important links between nutrition and the fight against cancer. We have found that mushrooms may slow the growth of breast cancer, blueberries could slow down the spread of cancer and grape seed extract might starve cancer cells.

With your support, City of Hope could set the table for a menu of new therapies that stop cancer.

The powerful pomegranate

Pomegranate, the sweet seeded fruit of ancient myth, is a rich source of antioxidants, and scientists are discovering other possible health benefits.

Recently, City of Hope researchers identified six chemicals in the pomegranate that suppress aromatase — a substance in the body that helps produce estrogen. About 70 percent of breast cancers need estrogen to grow, so pomegranate is a prime candidate as a breast-cancer-blocking super food. Other scientists have detected two substances in the fruit with potential to fight both colon cancer and diabetes.

Further studies at City of Hope will seek to better understand how the pomegranate can promote prevention of cancer.

Scintillating cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the most ancient spices, and if it is not the most popular, it soon may be.

City of Hope scientists found that a cinnamon extract interfered with a protein that helps tumors establish a blood supply, which is critical to keep them growing. Now, our team is pursuing additional studies on the spice that may choke the life out of cancer.

The mighty mushroom

The mushroom is more than just a pizza topping or salad fixing.

City of Hope researchers were among the first to report that the common white-button mushroom block aromatase, a protein linked to most breast cancers. In our lab studies, mushroom extract slowed the growth of breast tumors.

The City of Hope research team also has found that mushroom extract lowers the level of a hormone linked to prostate cancer. We also are testing medicine derived from shitake mushrooms that could spur the body’s natural defenses to help fight lung cancer. Recent research at City of Hope also reveals that mushroom intake may prevent fatty liver, slow down the formation of fat and reduce the incidence of metabolic diseases.

Brilliant blueberries

Tiny and tasty, blueberries may be more than nature’s candy.

City of Hope researchers found that blueberries could play a part in undoing a tough-to-treat type of breast cancer. One study indicates that blueberries may help halt the growth and spread of triple-negative breast cancer. This form of the disease is particularly aggressive and resistant to therapy. In City of Hope labs, blueberry juice held back the migration of cancer cells, while blueberry extract shrank tumors, stopped cancer cells from multiplying and even triggered their destruction.

Glorious grapes

Grape seed extract is a component of red wine and grape juice that also can be found concentrated as a dietary supplement.

Researchers at City of Hope have discovered two ways grape seed extract could play a role in clobbering cancer. Like mushrooms and pomegranates, grape seed extract inhibits aromatase — and it does its hormone-suppressing work without affecting healthy tissue. Grape seed extract also blocks the action of a protein that helps cancer grow and spread. It has the potential to starve tumors by suppressing their blood supply.




  • 1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts (optional)
  • 1 pomegranate, peeled and seeds separated
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

Place spinach in a salad bowl. Top with red onion, walnuts, feta, and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, and drizzle with vinaigrette.


  • 1 quart pomegranate juice
  • 2 cups papaya or mango juice
  • 1 orange
  • 6-8 strawberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 mango or papaya
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Mix juices and sugar until sugar dissolves. Wash orange and berries and slice into thin slices. Remove mango or papaya skin and cut fruit into chunks. Remove kiwi skin and cut into thick slices. Place all fruit into juice and let flavors meld in fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight before serving.

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One mission: Curing women’s cancers. 

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About City of Hope

Ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S.News & World Report,
City of Hope is recognized worldwide for its compassionate patient care, innovative science and translational research, which rapidly turns laboratory breakthroughs into promising new therapies. Learn more >>

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