Can one of the most malignant and life-threatening diseases, cancer, be prevented by consuming healthy food? The answer is ‘yes.’ However, before going further, one must understand what cancer is? It is a disease in which cells of a specific body part grow uncontrollably and spread to different parts of the body.
The human body possesses trillions of cells and they keep multiplying every second. When cells become older, they die, but sometimes this process breaks down, and damaged cells grow and proliferate when they should not. Unlike most ailments, this disease can start almost anywhere in the human body and form tumors or tissue lumps. Tumors can be either cancerous or non-cancerous.
Cancerous tumors, also known as malignant tumors, generally invade nearby tissues and distant places in the body, while non-cancerous or benign tumors normally don’t grow back if appropriately treated.
Several studies reveal that a healthy diet can lower the risks of certain types of cancer. It also helps prevent several other heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and many more. Consuming good nutrition would help to maintain a healthy weight.
Dietary Choices That May Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
For centuries, studies regarding diet and health have been going on; scientists and researchers continue to find certain foods and nutrients that prevent or lower the risk of this fatal disease. It is evident that results would not be the same, and different studies would bring different results but consuming the following foods may help an individual prevent cancer.
- Fruits and vegetables are considered lung cancer-fighting foods. Such a diet is also known for lowering the risk of esophageal, oral, stomach, and colon cancer. Furthermore, they are the prominent foods that boost the immune system of cancer patients.
- The Mediterranean diet includes fish, beans, vegetables, whole grains and is known for acting as a shield against cancer.
- Consuming Vitamin D and Calcium should help prevent colorectal cancer.
- Studies also reveal that Folic acid helps prevent cancer.
How To Improve Your Diet?
Medical science is achieving new heights in terms of research. Also, numerous cancer-fighting foods are available near you. Nowadays, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet has been relatively easier. Tons of options like nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables are available. When it comes to protein, it is suggested that one should consume a moderate amount of poultry, fish, and lean meat, fat-free dairy products.
We also know that there are several types of fats, but including certain fats in your diet would benefit you. Generally, ‘good’ fats are:
- Polyunsaturated fats: Vegetable oils such as corn and sunflower are a few examples of polyunsaturated fats, while they can also be found in thyroid cancer-fighting foods such as soybean, legumes, nuts, seeds, corn, and many more.
- Monounsaturated fats: Avocado, peanut, canola, olive, and several other nut oils contain monounsaturated fats; they can also be found in nut butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, legumes, and several other foods to prevent cervical cancer.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: We all know that the Omega-3 fatty acids from fish are pretty suitable for health. Sardines, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
You must be aware of the disadvantages of trans and saturated fats; snacks, fried food, fast food, and baked food are some examples of these fats. These are often referred to as ‘bad fats’ and can increase cholesterol in the human body.
Importance Of Phytochemicals
The substances found in plant-based foods are known as phytochemicals; these substances help reduce the risk of cancer. Apart from this, they help to maintain the health of bones, heart, and brain. Vitamin C and folic acids are regarded as the common phytochemicals, while flavonoids, isoflavones, and phytosterols are a few less common types. Foods such as cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, flaxseeds, grapefruit, and carrots are excellent sources of phytochemicals. Brain cancer-fighting foods such as garlic and nuts contain a substantial amount of phytochemicals.
Herbs Or Dietary Supplements: Which One To Choose?
Some experts even claim that the latest dietary supplements will reduce the risk of cancer, but such marketing claims are not proven yet. No study reveals that multivitamins can help reduce the risk of cancer. Consulting a doctor before adding any dietary supplements or herbs to your diet becomes very crucial. Your health may worsen if your diet is witnessing extreme changes. A few organizations, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the United States Preventive Task Force (USPSTF), suggested that one should not use vitamin E or beta-carotene for lowering the risk of cancer. At the same time, those who smoke should avoid the use of beta-carotene as it can cause a high risk for lung cancer.
What Are Cancer Causing Foods?
It is enigmatic to say that nutritious foods would totally lower the risk of cancer, but studies reveal that certain foods can increase the risk of cancer in the human body. These include:
- Ham, bacon, bologna, sausages are heavily processed meats and are known for increasing the risk of colorectal cancer if a person consumes them much often.
- Saturated fats generally contribute to weight, and research suggests that being overweight increases the risk of several types of cancer.
- We all know that alcohol deteriorates the human body, but it can also increase the risk of throat, mouth, esophagus, breast, and colorectal cancer. Studies suggest that men should not have more than two drinks per day while women should only consume one drink per day. A 12-ounce bottle of beer contains 4.5% alcohol, while a 5-ounce glass of wine has 12.9% alcohol.
Therefore, maintaining a proper diet is the need of the hour. Eating too much will make you obese, and obesity is linked to numerous types of cancer. Before heading to the grocery store, keep certain things in mind. Always prefer whole grains as the fiber would help in controlling the blood sugar level and weight management. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed on a regular basis and avoid bad fats. For more information, don’t forget to check out the University Cancer Centers website.