As a reality check to us, cancer has been the biggest battle we all have to face, with no particular cause attached to it. Not all health problems are avoidable, but you have more control over your health than you may think. Research shows that a large percentage of cancer-related deaths are directly linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, a lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet. Avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol, reaching a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise are a great start to preventing cancer. But to best support your health, you also need to look at your eating habits.
What you eat—and don’t eat—has a powerful effect on your health, including your risk of cancer. Without knowing it, you may be eating many foods that fuel cancer, while neglecting the powerful foods and nutrients that can protect you.
Here are some cancer prevention diet tips that you can practically do on the go.
- Fight cancer with fiber: Fiber, also called roughage or bulk, is the part of plants (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that your body can’t digest. Fiber plays a key role in keeping your digestive system clean and healthy. It helps keep food moving through your digestive tract, and it also moves cancer-causing compounds out before they can create harm. Eating a diet high in fiber may help prevent Colo-rectal cancer and other common digestive system cancers, including stomach, mouth, and pharynx.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber. There is no fiber in meat, dairy, sugar, or “white” foods like white bread, white rice, and pastries.
Use brown rice, whole-grain bread, eat fresh fruits with its skin, and drink plenty of water.
- Cut down on meat: Research shows that vegetarians are about fifty percent less likely to develop cancer than those who eat meat. First, meat lacks fiber and other nutrients that have been shown to have cancer-protective properties. What it does have in abundance, however, is fat—often very high levels of saturated fat. High-fat diets have been linked to higher rates of cancer. Some non-organic meat and poultry may also contain antibiotics and hormones and the animals may have been raised on feed containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Finally, depending on how it is prepared, meat can develop carcinogenic compounds.
Keep meat at a minimum, eat red meat occasionally, choose leaner meat, avoid processed meat etc.
- Focus on cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables: Unfortunately, there has been no specified food that we could eat to prevent cancer, but a balanced plant-based diet filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, soy, nuts, whole grains, and beans can help lower your risk for many types of cancer. Eating a colorful variety gives you the best protection. Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients that boost your immune system and help protect against cancer cells. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. These powerful vitamins can protect against cancer and help the cells in your body function optimally.
For breakfast; add fruit and a few seeds or nuts to your whole grain breakfast cereal (such as oatmeal)
For lunch; eat a big salad filled with your favorite beans and peas or other combo of veggies, order vegetables and lettuce for your sandwich and many more. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be pulled off as a snack.
For dinner; Add fresh or frozen veggies to your favorite pasta sauce or rice dish. Top a baked potato with broccoli and yogurt, sauteed veggies, or with salsa. Replace creamy pasta sauces with sauteed vegetables or tomato sauce made with healthy olive oil.
We cannot find a cause for cancer, but we can prevent it to the nearest minimum. Reducing its causative factors in our body. Let’s get educated.
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By Blessing Nwachukwu | [email protected]