The reason why cancer today has become an epidemic, is because of our misconceptions and improper understanding about cancer. Many of us do not understand that cancer is not a disease, it is the preventive mechanism of the body. Prevention is the key to fight and prevent cancer, and modifications in our lifestyle and diet intakes works as an armor against it.
As per medical terminology, there is no miracle food or diet to cure or prevent cancer from happening, but lifestyle factors in which our diet occupies the major portion, can make a big difference in lowering the risk of cancer. Eating a diet enriched with healthy foods, helps us maintain a healthy body weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is very important, as without it we could have problems of obesity, the second largest cause of cancer after smoking.
The link between cancer and diet
What we chose to eat – and do not eat – have powerful influence on our overall health. Some cancer factors – like genetics and environmental, are beyond our control, but researches have proven that 70% of cancer risks could be avoided with making due changes with our food habits in time. If someone have family history of cancer or has been diagnosed of cancer, making small changes in the diet and eating nutritious foods will certainly help the body counter the disease. For e.g. a simple traditional Mediterranean Diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil, reduces the risk of certain types of cancers like breast cancer, whereas, daily or regular diets rich in processes food and meats increases risks of colorectal cancer.
Understanding a cancer prevention diet
Diet consisting of variety of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and healthy fats and exclusion of processed and fried foods, unhealthy fats and sugar is the basis of a cancer prevention diet. Plant based food are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that supports our immune system and helps to fight against cancer cell developments inside the body. Here are some simple understandings:
- Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids – carrots, squash and brussel sprouts drastically reduces the risk of mouth, lung, pharynx and larynx cancers.
- High fruit diets reduces risks of stomach and lung cancers.
- Non-starchy vegetables – broccoli, spinach and beans helps in the protection against stomach and esophageal cancer, as well as eating oranges, bell peppers, berries, dark leafy vegetables and food rich in vitamin C also aids against esophageal cancer.
- Adding more fruits and vegetables in our regular diet with minimum of five intakes is essential. Eating them as close as possible to their natural state is more beneficial, like have a whole apple is more beneficial than having apple juice. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibers and are relatively low in calories.
- Foods high in fiber contains like whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables reduces chances of developing many cancers, particularly bowel cancer. It also helps gut bacteria’s produce useful chemicals that changes the conditions of the bowel, thus reducing the risks of cancer.