The development of many diseases is heavily influenced by your diet. What you eat and don’t eat can have a drastic effect on your health, including the risk for cancer. If you think you’ve been eating unhealthy food, start making small changes to your diet to improve your long-term health.
Fill your diet with a variety of vegetables and plant-based food, and limit your intake of processed food. Eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, beans, whole grains and healthy fats. Although there is no food that can totally eliminate developing cancer, you can make healthy choices that can reduce its risk.
Here are 10 foods that are proven to reduce cancer risk:
- Asparagus – Asparagus is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that help fight off free radicals in your body. Add it to your diet to help lower cardiovascular diseases and cancer risks. There is probable evidence that non-starchy vegetables like asparagus can help lower the risk of mouth, lung and colorectal cancers.
- Broccoli – Sulforaphane found in broccoli can prevent the development of prostate cancer, and the dietary fibers prevent colorectal cancer and obesity. “Green chemoprevention,”or the consumption of whole plants like broccoli is a great way of lowering cancer risks as it has anti-tumor properties also found in broccolini and kohlrabi.
- Flax seeds – Flax seeds are packed with phytochemicals and fiber, known for their anti-cancer activity. They help prevent diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation and other conditions. You can eat them in various ways like adding it to cereals, in cookies, green salads or just mix them in water, yogurt or other drinks.
- Kale. Research studies show that carotenoids in kale boost the body’s own antioxidants which help prevent free radicals which can lead to cancer. The vitamin C in kale also helps slow down the formation of carcinogens. Although often eaten raw in salads, you can enjoy it boiled, baked or steamed.
- Grapes. Resveratrol and phytocompounds found in grapes can help reduce cancer risk. Studies suggested that resveratrol can help prevent tumor growth in stomach, breast and liver. The best way to eat them is fresh, but you can also add them to salads, fruit cocktails, or have them frozen or juiced.
- Strawberries. They are loaded with vitamin C and polyphenol compounds that can help reduce cancer risk. The powerful antioxidants also help prevent diabetes and heart disease. A cup of fresh strawberries are full of calcium and potassium. You can have them fresh or incorporated in salads, yogurt, oatmeal or waffles.
- Walnuts. Walnuts have been extensively studied to help reduce cancer risk. They contain pedunculagin, which is metabolised into urolithins. Urolithins bind estrogen receptors that can help prevent breast cancer. You can have them as a snack or added to cereals. Remember to soak them in water overnight before eating.
- Grapefruit – Grapefruit is rich in antioxidants that can fight free radicals. Its fiber content can also help prevent colorectal cancer. However, if you’re taking any medications, consult with your doctor first before eating grapefruit as it can either increase the medications’ side effects or reduce their effectiveness.
- Spinach – Spinach is rich in vitamin C, fiber and phytochemicals that can help lower cancer risk. Chlorophyll present in green vegetables helps block carcinogenic heterocyclic amines found in grilled foods. Nutrients are best captured when vegetables are freshly picked, so you can add fresh or frozen spinach to your dish.
- Soybeans. Isoflavones found in soybeans can help reduce the risk of some breast cancers, prostate cancer and other hormone associated cancers. They’re high in protein, vitamins and minerals that can also relieve some symptoms of menopause. They can be consumed in different types like soy milk, tofu, tempeh and edamame.
Incorporating these foods into your diet will greatly enhance long-term health benefits and reduce cancer risk. Nutritious food coupled with daily exercise and enough rest will result in a healthy lifestyle. Remember to also limit intake of sugar, alcohol and processed food as you create your meal plans.
High levels of saturated fat found in some sweets and processed meat can cause increased cell proliferation, which is a cause of cancer. This needs to be controlled which is why in testing cancer drugs, cell proliferation assays are done to test the effectiveness of anti-cancer agents.
Cancer is a very complex disease. No cure has been found yet because different cancers have different genetic mutations that won’t respond to the same type of treatment. Although advances in detection and treatment are constantly developed, keep in mind that the best medicine is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.