Ageing, tobacco, sun exposure, radiation exposure, some viruses and bacteria, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity, or being overweight are some of the risk factors of cancer. Intake of certain foods can help lower the risk of cancer.
Eating patterns and food habits can affect a person’s health in a number of ways. Plant-based foods, cruciferous vegetables, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibres and proteins when taken in the right amount can lower the risk of cancer.
Foods To Lower Risk Of Cancer
Phytonutrients that are present in plant-based foods will lower the risk of cancer. Grains, whole wheat, tea, nuts, and beans are some of the sources of phytonutrients. These nutrients facilitate the proper functioning of the body. They are also responsible for the prevention of many diseases. These foods can reduce the risk of various types of cancer like Head and neck cancers, Oesophageal cancer, Stomach cancer, Lung cancer, Pancreatic cancer and Prostate cancer.
Lycopene is related to beta-carotene. It is an antioxidant that helps in protecting the cells from damage. It is present in tomatoes, apricots, watermelon and pink grapes. It can protect against Lung, Stomach, Prostate, Mouth and Throat cancers. Soya can help reduce Breast cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassica genus family. The Brassica family includes a wide range of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, brussels sprouts, turnips etc., These are highly nutritious as they contain vitamins C, E and K, folate, minerals and fibres. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties, antiviral and antibacterial effects. They also inhibit tumour cell formation and migration. Breast cancer, Prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, Lung cancer can be controlled with the intake of these vegetables.
Intake of foods rich in folate (vitamin B9) can control Breast cancer. Folate helps in blood cell formation and the healthy function of cells. Green leafy vegetables, fruit juices, dried beans and peas, foods made with flour including bread and cereals are rich in folic acid. There is a link between folate and breast cancer. People with low folate levels have a higher risk of cancer. Breast cancer, Colon cancer and pancreatic cancer can be reduced.
Selenium is a mineral that facilitates the proper functioning of our body. It prevents cell damage and infections. The foods which are rich in Selenium are pork, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, shellfish, beans and nuts. These foods can reduce new cases of Lung cancer, Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. The intake of these foods should be limited because there’s a risk of diabetes if these are taken more in number.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is one of the most effective nutrients. It protects the immune system from deficiencies and prevents prenatal health issues. Overall health can be better with the higher intake of vitamin C. Citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes etc contain ascorbic acid. These foods can reduce the formation of carcinogens such as nitrosamines. It can lower the risk of Stomach cancer and Lung cancer.
A diet rich in fibre can balance calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight. Oats, barley, nuts, brussels sprouts, avocado, lentils, beans, oranges, sprouts, apples, whole wheat and wheat bran are good sources of fibre. Eating foods rich in dietary fibres can help in lowering the risk of cancer. Fibres reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, manage bowels and help in weight control. Add fibres gradually to your diet in order to avoid gas. Fibres may be protective against breast, ovary, endometrial and gastrointestinal cancer. The relationship between colorectal cancer and dietary fibres is the strongest.
Proteins should be taken in a limited quantity and processed meat should be avoided. Plant protein intake can reduce the risk of cancer. Beans and lentils contain dietary fibres, iron and proteins and they are associated with a lower risk of many types of cancer. Tofu and tempeh can also control cancer.
Eating more than required can cause weight gain and this can, in turn, lead to obesity. Obesity is directly linked to a higher risk of cancers. Hence it is highly important to eat nutritious food in the right amounts.
It is recommended to avoid processed meat, fried chicken, duck, hamburgers, bacon, hot dogs, sausage etc as they contain high-fat content. Sugary beverages must be avoided. The intake of full-fat dairy products must be reduced.