Food Matters: How a Healthy Diet Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
April 7, 2021
One of the crucial factors in preventing cancer is nutrition. Most importantly, we must remind ourselves that diets are much more than a weight-loss tool. Our diet should be the primary tool to preserve our health and reduce the risk of developing degenerative diseases like cancer.
In this article, we will elaborate on what are the best foods for cancer prevention and what are the foods which cause cancer.
Foods to Stay Away From
When it comes to preventing cancer, we highly recommend avoiding the following foods:
Processed Meat and Red Meat
Processed meats and red meats can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer, which is ranked the third most common cancer worldwide.
According to the IARC, individuals who regularly consume red meat and processed meats are at higher risk of developing cancer. For instance, for every 50 g of processed meat consumption, such as ham, sausages, and beef jerky, there’s a 17% risk of developing colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, every 100 g of red meat consumption poses an 18% risk of developing cancer.
Alcohol and Smoking
The types of cancer in the esophagus can either be squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma.
Consumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma in the esophagus. Meanwhile, the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma is higher for smokers. Smoking also increases the risk of lung cancer.
Preserved Salty Foods
There’s a strong correlation between preserved salty foods and the risk of stomach cancer. However, it is unclear whether the preservatives or the high amounts of sodium are the cause behind such risk. Either way, we highly recommend lower your consumption of foods like:
- Salt preserved fish
- Beef jerky
Best foods to Prevent cancer
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, diets that focus mainly on the intake of organic foods rich in dietary fiber effectively reduce cancer risk. As a result, the AICR highly recommends diets that promote the consumption of whole grains, fruits, legumes, and vegetables.
Here are some examples of rich fiber foods:
- Whole grains and cereals: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, rye, bulgur, oats, brown rice, and wild rice.
- Fruits: raspberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, pears, avocadoes, bananas, and strawberries.
- Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, soybeans, and soy products (like tofu and soymilk).
- Vegetables: squash, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, beets, green peas, sweet potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, celery, and zucchini.
For the most part, dietary fiber helps prevent colorectal cancer. However, the nutrients of these foods also contribute to reducing the risk of getting cancer.
Other Foods for Cancer Prevention
According to studies, dairy products can help prevent the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The preventive effect against cancer is due to the high amounts of calcium found in dairy products. For vegans and vegetarians, there’s the option of taking calcium supplements.
Obesity and Higher Risk of Cancer
An essential factor in decreasing the risk of cancer is weight management. For example, high-glycaemic foods, a.k.a. sugary foods, increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Another example is the correlation between saturated fatty acids and the high risk of pancreatic cancer. This is because saturated fatty acids promote inflammation and insulin resistance.
Both sugary foods and saturated fatty foods lead to obesity and diabetes. Unfortunately, both conditions are factors that contribute to developing cancer. At Z.E.N. Foods, our goal is to provide you a diet plan that suits your nutritional needs. Most importantly, we aim to help you sustain a healthy lifestyle. For further information, please call (310) 205–9368. We are here for you!