Significance: Diet exerts a major influence on the risk for developing cancer and heart disease. Food factors such as flavonoids are alleged to protect cells from premature aging and disease by shielding DNA, proteins, and lipids from oxidative damage. Recent Advances: Our work has focused on clarifying the effects of dietary components on cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth, discovering mechanisms to explain the effects, and identifying the specific molecular targets of these compounds. Our strategy for identifying specific molecular targets of phytochemicals involves the use of supercomputer technology combined with protein crystallography, molecular biology, and experimental laboratory verification. Critical Issues: One of the greatest challenges for scientists is to reduce the accumulation of distortion and half truths reported in the popular media regarding the health benefits of certain foods or food supplements. The use of these is not new, but interest has increased dramatically because of perceived health benefits that are presumably acquired without unpleasant side effects. Flavonoids are touted to exert many beneficial effects in vitro. However, whether they can produce these effects in vivo is disputed. Future Directions: The World Health Organization indicates that one third of all cancer deaths are preventable and that diet is closely linked to prevention. Based on this idea and epidemiological findings, attention has centered on dietary phytochemicals as an effective intervention in cancer development. However, an unequivocal link between diet and cancer has not been established. Thus, identifying cancer preventive dietary agents with specific molecular targets is essential to move forward toward successful cancer prevention. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 163-180.