Cancer is a disease in which the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells takes place that harms body tissues. According to WHO, it is the second cause of deaths in the world. Nutrition plays a very important role in preventing and treating cancers. It appears that poor dietary habits, smoking, and lifestyle changes contribute to the cause of the most common types of cancer. Lifestyle changes could prevent 30–50% of all cancers.
Poor or wrong food choices inclines a person more towards cancer, as they lead to poor gut health (which is the hub of our immune system) and obesity (which is one of the major reasons for developing cancer). Few examples of such wrong choices are- fast foods like burger, pizza, pasta, french fries, processed foods especially meat,
The problem arises when these kinds of foods are frequently eaten, else our bodies are capable enough to flush out the toxins if eaten once in a blue moon.
The following food habits help to prevent the risk of cancer and also help in recovery after the cancer treatment :
- A healthy body weight: Many types of cancers are associated with obesity. Breast, Gallbladder, Kidney, Stomach, Colon, and Uterus cancers are directly related to body weight. Try to maintain the ideal body weight to prevent these types of cancer.
- High fiber foods: High-fiber foods are whole grain cereals, legumes, and vegetables. A diet rich in high-fiber is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer. Oatmeal, Brown rice and Barley contain many components like phenolic acids, flavonoids, saponins, etc that might lower the risk of cancer, including fiber. Some beans, especially pinto and red kidney beans are outstanding sources of antioxidants and fiber that should be included in the cancer-preventing diet.
- Seasonal &Colorful Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are packed with natural vitamins and other nutrients thathelp to reduce the risk of cancer. Instead of snacking on processed or sugary foods try to grab fruit as this also reduces the craving for sweets. Berriesare a tasty treat and cancer-fighting fruit. Antioxidants found in berries help to keep cancers from spreading or growing further. The skin of red grapeshas resveratrol, an antioxidant useful in keeping cancer from beginning or spreading. Tomatoes contain a high amount of an effective antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is helpful in preventing prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetableslike cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli are cancer-fighting vegetables. Some components in these vegetables protect from free radicals that damage the DNA of a cell. Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce are rich in beta carotene and lutein. These are cancer-fighting compounds that may limit the growth of some kinds of cancer cells.
- Garlic: Those who eat more garlicare less likely to develop many kinds of cancer, especially in the oesophagus, stomach, and colon. Ingredients in the garlic clove keep away cancer-causing substances in your body from working, or they restrict cancer cells from multiplying.
- Fish & Flaxseed: Fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring, and Tuna. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Flaxseeds are a rich source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that prevent cancer.
- Check on Salt: Stomach and oesophageal cancers in people who consume large amounts of processed products containing salt as a preservative.
- Green Tea: The leaves of the tea plant contain antioxidants called catechins, which help in preventing cancer (liver, breast, pancreatic, lung, oesophageal, and skin cancer) in various ways, including keeping free radicals from damaging cells. Catechins in tea can reduce tumour growth and shrink tumour cells. Drinking Green tea lowers the risk of cancer. A cup of green tea in a daily routine is advisable.
- Quit Smoking & Alcohol:Quitting smoking decreases the risk of lung, laryngeal, oesophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancer. Over 4,000 chemical compounds and 43 different carcinogenic substances are present in nicotine. Smoking is the most preventable reason for death in the public eye.
- Alcohol consumption is associated with many kinds of cancers. It increases the risk of oesophageal, oropharyngeal cancer, and breast cancer. Increased risk of rectal cancer has been found with beer consumption. Various incidences of liver cancer are also noted in alcoholics.
- Vitamin D supplements: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased risk of breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer. Try to include 1000 IU-2000 IU Vitamin D daily through a supplement.
- Exercise: This is an important aspect which helps both in preventing cancer risk and in recovering from treatment of cancer. Daily workout, yoga, sports help in reducing inflammation, improving immune system, lowering levels of hormones like insulin, preventing obesity, and reducing the time which food takes to travel through the digestive system.
By adhering to these guidelines and sticking with regular exercise might help to significantly reduce your risk of cancer and in fast recovery.