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Prevent Cancer with Diet

Salem Creekside Newsletter - October, 2015

Prevent Cancer with Diet

Maintaining good health rests equally on the pillars of exercise, eating right, managing stress and nurturing supportive relationships. The guidelines are consistent for reducing risk of most chronic disease, but research into cancer risk has shown a variety of different results on the effects of foods and the prevention of cancer. Yet there are some specific foods that may be beneficial to protect against cancer.

A balanced diet can help you manage a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese has been identified as increasing cancer risk. Plant-based diets are considered the most healthful; eating more vegetables and fruits than other types of foods is always a good start. The fruits and veggies should be freshly picked, not processed, organic or washed carefully to remove spray and residual pesticides in order to get the most benefit. Research indicates that there certain types of foods high in vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants that might have an anti-cancer advantage.

  • Carrots and other vegetables containing carotenoids, such as Brussels sprouts and squash as part of a healthy diet may reduce risk.
  • Raw garlic contains allicin, which acts to reduce inflammation and damage from free radicals; it may play a protective role against lung cancer.
  • Berries may lesson free radical activity and damage.
  • Tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables may have a protective effect against prostate cancer.
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower contain phytochemicals that activate enzymes in the body that cleanse carcinogens and detoxify before they damage cells.
  • Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins which work to lessen the action of free radicals reducing cellular damage
  • Whole grains provide a host of vitamins and minerals, fiber and antioxidants that might lower risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Turmeric contains an ingredient called curcumin, which reduces inflammation.
  • Good old leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce are good sources of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein.

Scientists are also studying foods that may have adverse effects on one's cancer risk. Although results are not definitive, there are a few foods that have been identified as the probable culprits especially if used in excess. For now the results are still out on foods that prevent cancer, but we know eating a diet with a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables leads to the most beneficial and supportive outcomes.