Cancer is a deadly disease and almost everyone is afraid of it. As we live in a heavily polluted environment that is increasing the occurrence of cancer to most of the people today. Moreover, other factors such as environmental radiation exposure (UV rays through sunlight), smoking, viruses, gene mutations, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), obesity and unhealthy diet also increase the risk of falling prey to this terrifying illness. But, this disease does not suddenly occur overnight. It develops over a period of years and therefore it is important to take care of your health throughout your life. Different types of food contain nutrients that can help you boost your body’s defence system against cancer. This is why being mindful about what you eat and the way you plan your diet can be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Should You Only Rely on Your Diet for Protection Against Cancer?
As the term cancer refers to a group of diseases which involves abnormal cell growth with the potential to spread to other body parts. it is important to understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to preventing cancer. This is because in some cases, certain lifestyle habits are linked with the disease (for example, smoking can cause lung cancer). In other cases, physiological factors can lead to certain types of cancer too (for example: women are more likely to develop breast cancer post menopause). Therefore, when you are wondering about the tips to reduce the risk of cancer, you have to also ensure regular medical check-ups, and not solely rely on tips. Now a days, various diagnostic health check-ups are available which can identify the cancer in early stage and this deadly disease can be cured timely.
However, now that you are aware of this, let us find out which foods can help you reduce the risk of cancer!
Best Foods to Reduce the Risk of Cancer:
The following are the different food items that you should include in your diet:
Turmeric is a great spice, not just because of its distinct flavour, but also it offers many health benefits. One of these health benefits is that it can reduce the risk of developing cancer. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which kills tumor cells by regulating multiple cell signaling pathways. A study conducted with patients that had cancerous lesions in the colon showed that the lesions reduced by 40% when the patients were given measured doses of turmeric. Another study showed that this spice could slow the growth and progression of prostate, lung and breast cancers.
Cinnamon is another type of spice that contains antitumor properties. It works by inhibiting the formation of blood vessels in tumours and reducing the oxygen supply to the cancer cells. Thereby, induces the tumor cell death. One study found that cinnamon essential oil1 can help in reducing the size of cancerous tumours. Cinnamon also contains phenylpropanoids such as Eugenol that exerts toxic effects on various cancer cell types. You can add cinnamon in your diet by having cinnamon honey tea, banana cinnamon oats and fruit salad sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Garlic contains an organosulfur compound known as allicin which produced when garlic is chopped or crushed. It has antioxidant properties and boost the body’s immunity to fight against cancer. According to various studies, allicin helps to reduce cancer growth. Simply adding garlic to your daily diet can help reduce your risk of cancer.
Broccoli contains flavonoids that are anti-cancerous in nature. This flavonoid is known as sulforaphane and is believed to be very effective for reducing breast cancer risks2. When you consume broccoli, however, you should make sure that you steam it instead of cooking it in a microwave. This is because when you cook it in a microwave, close to 97% of these flavonoids get destroyed!
Certain citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are very good for reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Citrus fruits are abundant in compounds called as flavanoids that possess antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. Another antioxidant found in citrus fruits is vitamin C or ascorbic acid which helps to fight against free radicals in the body. One study states that these fruits can help to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by 28%. Another study shows that they help against oral, pancreatic and respiratory cancer too3.
Brazil nuts contain good amounts of selenium in them. Selenium is a type of essential mineral that causes cancer cells to kill themselves. A study that was conducted by Harvard University showed that people with high amounts of selenium in their blood had a reduced risk of cancer by 48%. Another study by Cornell University observed that just by having 200 mg of this mineral a day, people found a 68% reduction in incidence of prostate tumour, 58% reduction in colorectal cancer, 46% reduction in lung malignancies and even a decrease in overall deaths by 38%. You can eat these daily by adding sprinkling on a salad or can just eat them from a bowl as a snack!
Tomatoes have a plant pigment known as Lycopene. This compound not only gives it a red colour, but also has anti-cancer properties. Tomatoes can lower the risk of certain cancers such as lung and prostate cancer. You can have tomatoes in the form of soup, sauce, chutney and vegetable salad sprinkled with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.
Berries like cranberries, blueberries and raspberries are great for reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. They contain certain compounds known as anthocyanins which possess antioxidant properties and thus, boost immune system of our body. Different studies showed that the intake of berries reduces the progression and spread of oral cancer in many patients. You can have a handful of berries for breakfast to ensure a great start to your day!
Kiwi fruits has high amounts of antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E which fight against the free radicals generated in the body and help in reducing the risk of cancer. It also contains ample amounts of carotenoids such as lutein that inhibits the growth of certain cancer cells by interfering with the several cell signaling pathways.
Ginger contains certain compounds such as shogaols, gingerols and zingerone which provide odour and flavour to it. These compounds are beneficial in fighting against cancer as they inhibit the division and growth of tumour cells. A study showed that shogaols stops spheroid formation in breast cancer cells and induces the death of cancer cells too. An easy way to incorporate ginger in your diet is to have ginger tea. You can also add ginger to the chutney, curries and certain beverages.
Natural foods contain many essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help people to prevent the occurrence and progression of certain life threatening diseases including cancer. Therefore, you should always include a variety of food items in your daily diet to ensure that your body is getting enough nutrients. When it comes to reduce the risk of cancer, you must increase the intake of all above mentioned foods and also ensure regular health check-ups to make sure you are okay!
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