Food can be an effective way to fight cancer. cancer is a major public health issue being second cause of death in the world with 8.8 million deaths in 2015 according to the WHO. Numerous studies have shown that a varied and nutritious diet can help prevent the disease from returning and can even help shrink tumors. Some of the most anti-cancer foods are those that are high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
Currently, “nearly one in six deaths worldwide is due to cancer”, and although smoking is the most important risk factor for cancer with about 22% of total cancer deaths, diet is one of the cornerstones to reverse the trend. Indeed, a healthy diet can help you prevent or fight cancer. It therefore seems essential to know how to reduce your risk with cancer-fighting foods.
Is there a link with diet and cancer
Of course, several important measures to prevent cancer exist; avoiding tobacco to reduced risk of lung cancer, limiting alcohol consumption, achieving a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
Some cancer risk factors, such as genetics and environment, are beyond our control. However, research suggests that more than half of cancer risks are modifiable and within our control, including through our diet. But adopting a healthy diet can also play a vital role. What we eat and what we don’t eat can have a powerful effect on health.
How diet reduces cancer risk
Although research tends to point to associations between specific foods and cancer, rather than strong cause-and-effect relationships, certain dietary habits can have a major influence on risk.
For example, a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive oil may reduce the risk of developing a variety of common cancers, including breast cancer.
Conversely, a diet that includes a daily serving of meat and processed foods increases the risk of colorectal cancer (colon cancer).
If you have a history of cancer in your family, making small changes to your diet and behaviors now, and based on your age and/or health status, can make a big difference to your long-term health.
And if you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, eating a nutritious diet can help maintain your mood and strengthen your body during this difficult time. Simple ways to develop your anti-cancer diet exist, without relying on the media available on this subject, such as the works of Pr. David Hayat and his “anti-cancer kitchen”.
What is an anti-cancer diet
Build your diet around a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in powerful antioxidants, flavonoids present in green tea, nuts, beans, whole grains and healthy fats is paramount. With this simple approach, we can reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer such as breast, colon, prostate cancer, as well as other serious diseases.
At the same time, try to limit the amount of processed, fried, high-cooked foods high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates that you eat. The key is to make a harmony of eating well and eating healthy.
What foods helps reduce cancer risk
Simply changing what we are eating we can significantly reduce cancer risks. Instead of sugary sodas, sugary cereals, white bread, pasta, and processed foods like pizza, opt for whole grains and unrefined whole grains like whole wheat or multigrain bread, brown rice, barley, quinoa, bran cereals, rolled oats and non-starchy vegetables. It could reduce your risk of colorectal and prostate cancer and help you achieve a healthy weight.
Diets high in fruit may help reduce the risk of stomach and lung cancer. Eating oranges, berries, peas, peppers, dark leafy green vegetables as kale, and other vitamin C-rich foods may also protect against cancer of the esophagus.
Fiber enriched foods
Fiber helps keep cancer-causing compounds in your digestive tract before they can cause harm. Also, fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and plays a key role in keeping your digestive system healthy.
In this way, a diet rich in fiber can help prevent colorectal cancer and other common cancers of the digestive system, including cancers of the stomach, mouth and pharynx. Additionally, a diet high in fat increases your risk of developing many types of cancer, but healthy types of fat may protect against cancer.
Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients called antioxidants, which boost your immune system and help protect against cancer cells. Thus, eating vegetables containing carotenoids may reduce the risk of cancer of the lung, mouth, pharynx and larynx. Carotenoids are strongly present in vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts and squash.
Diets high in non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and beans, may help protect against cancer cells from stomach and esophageal cancer.
To limit the amount of processed meat you eat and to vary your diet by looking for other sources of protein, such as fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and soy, rather than rely only on red meat.
On the other hand, studies show that a lifetime diet rich in soy foods reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. Soy contains protein, is flavones and fiber, all of which are beneficial to health.
Lycopene-rich foods, such as tomatoes, guava, and watermelon, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Add more unsaturated fats from fish, olive oil (virgin and extra virgin), nuts and avocados.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, and flaxseed, for example, can fight inflammation and support brain and heart health.
Get the most out of your diet
In an effort to add more power to your diet, focus on adding whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. For example, eat an unpeeled apple instead of drinking apple juice.
Try to eat fruit that’s organic, or as natural as possible, and washed properly.
Make healthy eating day plan
Let’s think of a healthy food day plan. While we are at it let’s take great care to know the origin of your products and avoid GMOs as much as possible, wash them properly, be attentive to cooking, and consume them as much as possible during their respective seasons.
Start the day with a breakfast of fresh fruits, seeds, and nuts to whole, low-sugar cereals like oatmeal. For lunch, eat a salad filled with your favorite beans and peas or another mix of vegetables in a whole tabbouleh, for example.
If you’re eating on the go, add more lettuce, tomato and avocado to your whole grain sandwich. Stay committed and try filling your plate with vegetables.
If you have snacks, take an apple or a banana on the way out, or dip carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers in hummus. You can also keep a mixture of nuts and dried fruits on hand.
This can also be an opportunity to enjoy a small juice of green vegetables or pomegranate juice. Pomegranate has high value against cancer cells.
Finish the day with a dinner of fresh vegetables to your favorite sauce or dressing. Garnish a baked potato with broccoli sprigs, or sautéed vegetables. And for dessert, choose the fruit option as often as possible rather than overly sweet desserts.
How to boost the cancer-fighting benefits of foods
Wash all fruits and vegetables. Use a vegetable brush for washing. Washing does not remove all pesticide residues, however it will reduce them considerably.
Eat at least some raw fruits and vegetables, as they tend to contain the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals, although cooking certain vegetables can make the vitamins more available to our bodies.
Overcooking vegetables eliminates many vitamins and minerals. When cooking vegetables, steam until tender. This preserves more vitamins. If you are boiling vegetables, use the cooking water in a soup or other dish to make sure you get all the vitamins.
Season and flavor foods with immune -boosting herbs and spices. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, basil, rosemary, and cilantro not only add flavor, but they also add valuable cancer-fighting nutrients with their powerful antioxidants.
Foods to avoid before or during cancer
Choosing a healthy diet is not the only important factor in preventing cancer. How you prepare, store and cook your food is also important.
Processed or red meat
Many different studies have linked cancer risk to the consumption of processed meats such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, or deli meats. Note that the risk could be due to nitrate preservatives or other substances used in meat processing, although cancer risk factors also increase when eating red meat.
Sugar and refined carbs
Cut down on sugar and refined carbs! Eating refined carbohydrates in men causes rapid spikes in blood sugar (insulin spikes) which has been linked to an 88% higher risk of prostate cancer, as well as other serious health problems.
Trans fatty acids
Avoid trans fatty acids (TFAs) or partially hydrogenated oil (used to replace butter) found in processed packaged and fried foods such as cookies, cakes, muffins, pie crust, pizza dough, French fries, fried chicken or appetizer cakes.
Limit saturated fat from red meat and dairy products to no more than about 10% of your daily calories.
Tips for reducing your exposure to carcinogens
Carcinogens substances found in food. They can form during the cooking or storage process. Foods such as salted, dried and preserved meats such as bacon, sausage, beef jerky, burnt or charred meats, smoked foods, and moldy foods have carcinogens. Burnt or charred meat creates ideal carcinogens to destroy your health even though you have the right to swerve.
Avoid cooking in high heat
To reduce your exposure to carcinogens, it is important not to cook oils over high heat. Cooking over low heat or cooking at low temperatures less than 240 degrees prevents oils or fats from becoming carcinogenic.
Change the method of cooking
Instead of frying, pan-frying, and sautéing, opt for healthier methods such as baking, boiling, steaming, or broiling whenever possible. Take it easy on the BBQ!
Try not to overcook
If you choose to barbecue, don’t overcook the meat and make sure you cook it to the right temperature. For example, by preparing marinated meats, you can cook them for a shorter time and at a lower temperature.
Start from changing your lifestyle
Lifestyle advice for cancer prevention is not limited to diet and other healthy habits can further reduce your risk, such as physical activity, but food should definitely not be overlooked.