Cancer Prevention: Reducing Your Risk Through What You Eat
“While there is no sure-fire way to prevent cancer, many scientific studies show specific lifestyle factors that can reduce a person’s risk of developing it,” says Patricia Sammarelli, MD, physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care West Villa Maria. Among these, nutrition has proved to be a good indicator of who will or won’t develop cancer later in life.
Another Reason to Finish Your Greens
According to a review of clinical studies conducted for the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables seems to lower a person’s risk of lung cancer and could prevent cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and prostate. Multiple studies show lower rates of cancers in people who are at a healthy weight and exercise regularly. While specific foods could provide cancer-neutralizing properties, a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables in general has a strong correlation to lower incidences of cancer.
6 Foods to Fend Off Cancer
To get all the benefits you can from your nutrition, try implementing the following foods that seem to result in lower rates of cancer.
- Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables. These foods—including cabbage, kale, and cauliflower—contain glucosinolates, which produce protective enzymes that may reduce cancer risk by detoxifying harmful substances in the body. These foods seem to mostly protect against prostate, lung, colon, breast, bladder, liver, neck, head, mouth, esophagus, and stomach cancers.
- Tomatoes and other red produce. The red color comes from a phytochemical called lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that lycopene-rich diets result in lower levels of prostate cancer, and they can also decrease your risk of heart disease. Studies show lycopene preventing other types of cancer cells from growing in lab tests, including breast, lung, and endometrial. Other foods with lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit, and red bell peppers.
- Berries. These fruits contain both antioxidants, including vitamin C and ellagic acid, and flavonoids. In lab tests, ellagic acid displayed anti-cancer properties. It boosted enzymes, which slows the growth of tumors and destroys cancer-causing substances. Meanwhile, flavonoids suppress an enzyme that damages DNA and may be responsible for lung cancer. Blueberries, in particular, are rich in anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation.
- Carrots. Carrots are rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, a pigment that could protect cell membranes from damage and slow the growth of cancer cells. This vegetable delivers vitamins and phytochemicals that seem to guard against breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach cancer. Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural pesticide that has anti-inflammatory properties. In a British study, rats given falcarinol were less likely to develop cancerous tumors.
- Spinach and dark leafy greens. These veggies contain lutein, an antioxidant that may guard against cancer. Folate in these plants also helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. Studies have shown positive effects of dark leafy greens in pregnant women’s diets, as folate can prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus.
- Whole grains. Any form of fiber is good, but whole grains also contain lignans, which act as antioxidants, and saponins, which could keep cancer cells from multiplying. You can integrate more whole grains into your diet with whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, air-popped popcorn, barley, oatmeal, and other delicious options.
CHI St. Joseph Health is the first in the Brazos Valley to offer scan services featuring GE Healthcare’s Discovery™ IQ system. Delivering scans in half the time with half the dosage of radiotracers, this combined PET and CT technology interprets information from two exams onto one image, leading to more precise results and diagnoses. Additionally, our 3D mammography technology provides the most accurate breast imaging available, resulting in fewer unnecessary biopsies from unclear scans. With a multidisciplinary approach and leading-edge technology, our team offers some of the most advanced and comprehensive cancer care in the region. If you’re in need of oncology services, you can trust the experts in .