Food plays an important role in determining the health of a person. It is an essential aspect of a person’s life. But can food lower the chances of developing cancer?
What is cancer?
Cancer is a health condition where abnormal cell division occurs rapidly and spreads to other tissues and organs. Cancer is named from the area where it begins.
What is the relationship between diet and cancer?
Food can contain cancer-fighting properties. However, there is no food to prevent or stop cancer on its track. To an extent, consuming an overall healthy diet including colourful vegetables and fruits is the key to preventing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Various research conducted on people showed that foods like berries, garlic and broccoli showed properties that have a solid link to preventing cancer.
These foods are low in calories and are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
A diet that can keep cancer away doesn’t look very different from healthy food.
What are the foods to include in the diet to give the body a chance of staying clear from cancer?
The sulfur compounds in the garlic can cause order and stop cancer-causing substances in the body. Garlic helps with DNA repair and also kills cancer cells. Garlic will battle against bacteria that can cause stomach cancer.
To get the best out of garlic, it is recommended to peel and chop the cloves and let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. This will activate the enzymes and release sulfur-containing compounds that have a protective effect.
Garlic is a powerhouse and can protect against various infections. This is the reason why it is used in multiple recipes around the world.
Broccoli is a phytochemical powerhouse. Broccoli and a few more cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and kale contain phytochemicals that produce protective enzymes released when a person consumes them as raw vegetables.
The body also produces these enzymes in the intestine. The enzymes are activated when cooked, or raw broccoli passes through the intestine.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, are known for their protective properties against cancers like prostate, lung, colon, breast, liver, neck, bladder and stomach cancer.
The red, bright and juicy vegetables are hard to resist and also a powerful weapon that helps the body fight against prostate cancer and various heart diseases.
The red colour of a tomato is because of phytochemicals known as lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radical cell damage.
Various studies suggested that a lycopene-rich diet helps fight prostate cancer.
Researchers speculate that this antioxidant will protect the cells from damage that can lead to cancer. These antioxidants are also known to improve the immune system. Consuming raw tomatoes provides the body with various cancer-fighting compounds.
Strawberries are also packed with antioxidants that fight against various cell damage. Consuming strawberries can protect against various heart diseases and memory decline.
Strawberries are also believed to cure cancer. A study found that consuming strawberry extract slowed down the growth of cancer cells.
Being rich in antioxidants, these tiny berries have anti-cancer properties that increase the enzyme produced in the body that can destroy cancer-causing substances.
Strawberries also contain flavonoids that can suppress enzymes that cause damage to the DNA.
Including berries in the diet will decrease the chances of developing cancer like lung, mouth, organ, throat and stomach cancer.
The readily available orange vegetable is packed with essential disease-fighting nutrients. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects the cell membrane from toxin damage. By doing so, it stuns the growth of cancerous cells.
Cooked carrots supply more antioxidants compared to raw carrots. Steaming or boiling carrots will reduce the loss of nutrients and give them a sweeter taste.
Consuming dark leafy vegetables is good for overall health. Spinach explicitly contains an antioxidant called lutein. Lutein is good for the eyes. Such substances, including carotenoids in spinach, remove unstable molecules that can cause free radical damage to the body.
Studies show that these molecules in spinach reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
Grains like wheat or other unprocessed grains deliver ample fibre to the body. People who consume a diet with whole grains, vegetables and fruits have decreased chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Even though there is no clear evidence of how such components can help prevent cancer, these fibre is essential for the body.
Some of the other foods that can help lower the risk of cancer are:
Beans contain a high amount of fibre. Various studies conducted revealed that beans could protect against colorectal cancer. People who consume more cooked or dried beans had a decreased risk of tumour occurrence.
Consuming a few servings of beans every week can increase fibre intake and also helps lower the risk of developing various cancers.
Cinnamon is known for its health benefits. It can offer impressive health benefits like reducing blood sugar levels and fighting against inflammation.
In some animals, research scientists found that cinnamon can help block the spread of cancer cells. However, further studies are required to understand how exactly cinnamon can affect human cancer development.
Berries contain antioxidants that fight against free radical cell damage. Animal studies revealed that berry extracts are found to inhibit various biomarkers of cancer.
Test tube studies and animal studies have found that the compounds present in various berries can lower the growth and spread of specific cancer cells in the body.
Consuming nuts are linked to restricting certain types of cancer. Specific nuts like the Brazil nuts contain a high amount of selenium that can help protect the lungs against cancer.
Similarly, walnuts can decrease the growth rate of breast cancer by more than 70%. However, more studies on humans are required to determine if nuts are solely responsible for this and other factors involved in reducing cancer risk.
Turmeric is a spice that is known for its health-promoting properties. The main active ingredient is curcumin. It helps the body with anti-inflammatory effects and also fights against antioxidant damage.
Turmeric is also believed to have anti-cancer effects. The ingredient found in turmeric is known to kill the cancer cells. This is the reason why turmeric is used every day in Indian cuisine.
Olive oil is loaded with various health benefits and is considered a staple in the Mediterranean diet. A higher intake of olive oil in the diet can decrease the rate of colorectal cancer.
Switching other oils and replacing them with olive oil can help improve overall health. Olive oil is also used as a dressing on top of salads or can also be used to cook vegetables.
Canola oil is a plant-based oil that is known for its health effects. Since breeding the canola plant, canola oil developers have developed wide varieties of the plant, improving the seed quality and producing a more refined final product.
Canola oil contains vitamin E, vitamin K and other good sources of nutrition that can help with developing health and fight against spreading cancerous cells.
Green or white tea
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants that provide essential health benefits to the body.
Oatmeal provides the body with various nutrients that can help improve health. It provides an ample amount of carbohydrates, antioxidants and protein. It is also loaded with more healthy fat than most grains.
Oatmeal is provided for people who undergo chemotherapy. Consuming it can reduce the risk of developing cancer significantly.
Chicken and turkey
Various studies conducted on a group of people found that women who consume chicken or turkey had a reduced chance of developing breast cancer.
With all the observational studies done, research cannot firmly conclude the cause of this effect. The correlation between consuming chicken and turkey with reducing cancer has much more to do with the quantity and other protective qualities present in the meat.
Cauliflower is a healthy vegetable that has a significant source of nutrients packed in them. This vegetable contains essential plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases like cancer and heart diseases.
Moreover, it is used as a tool for weight loss by replacing traditional rice.
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes are nutritious with high fibre content. Like other plant-based food, sweet potatoes contain various plant compounds that can improve health and fight against chronic diseases like cancer.
Flaxseed is high in fibre and is also considered a heart-friendly food due to its healthy fat content.
Research shows that flaxseed can even help cut down cancer growth and helps the body fight against cancerous cells. Due to its high fibre content, it is found to be protective against colorectal cancer.
Botanically berries and grapes are considered fruits that come in different colours and forms.
Eight thousand years ago, people first cultivated grapes in the middle east. Grapes pose an excellent nutritional value that helps protect against cancer, and cardiovascular diseases are problems and other health conditions.
Resveratrol is a nutrient in grapes that offers numerous health benefits. Moreover, grapes are also suitable for people with diabetes.
Including citrus fruit in the diet can lower the risk of cancer. Consuming fruits like lemon, lime, oranges and grapefruit can reduce cancer risk, especially in the digestive and respiratory tract.
However, an important fact to remember is that these researchers do not include various other factors that may be involved in preventing cancer. Further research is needed to conclude how citrus fruit specifically contains cancer development.
Consuming a few servings of fish daily can reduce cancer risk. Studies conducted on humans found that consuming more fish reduces the chances of developing colorectal cancer.
Particularly fish like salmon, mackerel and anchovies had nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D that have been shown to lower cancer risk.
What are the other lifestyle tips for cancer prevention?
Apart from diet, there are other lifestyle tips to prevent or reduce cancer risk.
Consuming too much food can increase body fat, increasing the chances of getting cancer. Obesity should be kept at bay. It is essential to be as lean as possible. However, being underweight can also cause problems.
Keeping oneself physically active for at least one hour a day will improve overall health and reduce the chances of developing various health conditions.
Alcoholism must be avoided. Limiting alcoholic drinks can significantly improve health.
Diet plays an essential role in keeping a person healthy. A person must meet their nutritional requirements through diet. In rare cases, a doctor may suggest health supplements.
Once a patient undergoes cancer treatment, they must follow the recommendations provided by a doctor to prevent cancer development.
To sum up
As various researches continue across the globe, it is increasing that food can significantly impact reducing the risk of cancer.
Despite many foods potentially reducing the spread and the growth of cancer cells in the body, the research conducted is limited to animals and observational studies.
More human research is required to understand how these foods have a direct impact in affecting cancer development.
Consuming an overall balanced meal is essential to keep a person healthy, paired with following a healthy lifestyle to improve various aspects of health.
1. What foods decrease cancer risk?
Consuming food like berries, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, turmeric, fish, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal and whole-grain can reduce cancer risk.
2. What can I drink to fight cancer?
Green tea and white tea contain ingredients that may protect against various cancers. The antioxidants present in coffee can be effective against endometrial cancer.
3. What is the cancer-fighting diet?
A diet that includes dark green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach and food that contains adequate fibre, folate and carotenoids can help the body protect against cancer.
4. How to prevent cancer naturally?
1 · Quit tobacco
2 · Consume healthy meals
3 · Proper weight management
4 · Get vaccinated and
5 · Regular health checkups can reduce the risk of developing cancers.
5. What stops cancer cells from growing?
Studies conducted on the human body found that resolvins are compounds that are naturally secreted by the body to stop inflammatory responses and fight against the growth of cancer cells.
6. What are the signs of cancer?
Signs and symptoms of cancer include a fatty lump in the body, weight changes, change in skin colour and persistent cough.
7. What food cause cancer?
Food like processed meat, over-cooked food, fried food, dairy sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol can cause cancer.
8. Can you get rid of cancer by eating healthy?
Eating clean or consuming a balanced diet can reduce cancer risk.
9. Do vegetarians have less cancer?
With less evidence, many people believe that people who follow a vegetarian diet have a lower risk of developing cancer; however, not enough research is back to prove the statement.