Your eating habits can drastically affect the aspects of your health. It also includes the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Cancer? Yes, you read it right!
Your diet influences the development of cancer. However, foods can not protect against cancer completely but may lower the risk of developing the fatal disease.
1. What Is Cancer?
2. Relationship Between Cancer And Food
3. Anti Cancerous Food
4. The Final Say
Cancer is a broad term! It occurs when cellular changes in the body cause the growth of an uncontrolled division of cells. Some cancer causes rapid growth while others cause cells to grow and divide slower.
Cancerous cells form tumours, impair the immune system and cause changes that do not let the body function effectively. A few studies say, “Simple lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, can prevent 30-50% of all cancers.”
Do you wonder what the connection between food and cancer is? Let us look into it:
Let us look at the foods that can lower your cancer risk.
Vegetables are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients. Here are a few recommended vegetables:
Broccoli: Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables with potential anticancer properties.
Carrot: Some studies claim that eating more carrots decreases the risk of certain types of cancer.
Tomatoes: Lycopene in tomatoes is responsible for its vibrant red colour and anticancer properties.
Onions: Onions belong to the allium family, known for their cancer-fighting characteristics. It helps to cut dioxin, a type of cancer-causing toxin. One tbsp of raw red onion contains phytonutrients linked to cutting dioxin toxicity in half.
Spinach: Spinach is loaded with nutrients offering numerous health benefits. It has glycoglycerolipids that are beneficial against prostate, breast and stomach cancer.
Fruits are not only beautiful in colour but are also rich in antioxidants. Here are a few fruits known for their anticancer properties.
Berries: These colourful little beauties are high in anthocyanins and plant pigments with antioxidant properties. They are associated with a reduced risk of cancer in humans.
Citrus fruits: A study found that fruits like lemons, lime, grapefruits and oranges lower the risk of digestive and upper respiratory cancer.
Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! They have polyphenols, a plant-based compound that may prevent inflammation, cardiovascular disease and infections.
Spices and herbs are part of every Indian household. They contribute a lot to preventing seasonal and fatal diseases like cancer.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon can reduce blood sugar and ease inflammation. It suppresses the growth of head and neck cancer cells and reduces tumour size. Including 2-4 g of cinnamon in your daily diet may promote cancer prevention.
Turmeric: Turmeric has been used for years for its medicinal properties. Curcumin present in turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancerous effects.
Garlic: Garlic is used for heart and blood system conditions. It has allicin, a compound linked to killing cancer cells. A study found that those who ate lots of allium vegetables, such as garlic, and onions, had less risk of stomach cancer than those who rarely consumed them.
Nuts and seeds are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They regulate body weight and help to burn energy. A few nuts and seeds are recommended to be consumed regularly to lower cancer risk.
Flaxseeds: They are rich in fibre and healthy addition to your diet. Research suggests that flaxseeds may decrease cancer growth and help kill off cancer cells.
Nuts: Consuming nuts is part of a healthy lifestyle. Many researchers have found that nuts lower the risk of certain types of cancer.
One study looked at the diets of 19,386 people and found that eating a more significant amount of nuts was associated with a decreased risk of dying from cancer.
The consumption of legumes and whole grains is recommended by medical practitioners worldwide. Let us understand their anti-cancerous properties.
Legumes: Legumes are high in fibres that help to reduce the risk of developing cancer. They include beans, peas and lentils. Research has found that having a few servings of beans each week may help protect against colorectal cancer.
A study followed 1,905 people with a history of colorectal tumours and found that those who had more cooked, dried beans tended to have a decreased risk of tumour recurrence.
Whole grains: Whole grain kernels contain the bran, germ, and endosperm, unlike refined grains, which only contain the starchy endosperm.
Whole grains contain phytochemicals and essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and copper. Whole grains are also high in fibre, which can lower cancer rates.
There are no miracle superfoods to prevent cancer. However, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein may reduce cancer risk. Conversely, refined carbs, sugar, salt and alcohol increase cancer risk.
People with cancer should follow a healthy and balanced diet to preserve their quality of life and support good health.
1. Do phytochemicals help reduce the risk of cancer?
Yes, it reduces inflammation, regulates hormones, boosts immunity, and repairs your DNA.
2. Is cancer caused due to poor nutrition?
Many reasons cause cancer, like heavy alcohol consumption, excess body weight, physical inactivity, etc.
3. What vegetables are carcinogenic?
Broccoli, apples, onions, oranges, strawberries, lemons and mushrooms all contain acetaldehyde, a natural by-product of oxidation and a human carcinogen.
4. Does drinking coffee or caffeine affect cancer risk?
Whether coffee or caffeine lowers or raises the risk of different types of cancer has been an active area of research.
Studies have suggested that coffee decreases the risk of endometrial and liver cancers, although the risk of endometrial cancer may be increased by smoking.
5. Does sugar increase cancer risk?
Sugar in foods and beverages adds to calorie intake, leading to obesity, so eating a lot of sugar can indirectly increase cancer risk.
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