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How Your Diet Can Potentially Prevent Cancer?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sandeep Nayak 90% (44 ratings)
MBBS, DNB Gen Surgery, DNB Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Bangalore  •  21 years experience
How Your Diet Can Potentially Prevent Cancer?

Let’s start with some mind-boggling statistics: in India, over 2.5 million patients are diagnosed with cancer. Moreover, it is estimated that around 700,000 new patients are found to have cancer, each year, and around 550,000 annual deaths are related to cancer.

While these perturbing numbers might unnerve you, there is, however, a case for cautious optimism. While there are certain causes of cancer like genetics and environment which are beyond your realms of control; there are certain causes which can be controlled by you. Research shows that nearly 70% of cancer causes are in your hands – including your own diet.

Your daily nutritional intake is vital for two reasons:

  1. There are definite cancer-preventing nutrients and food items;
  2. Conversely, there are certain types of nutrients and food items which cause cancer.

While research typically points to links between food items and cancer than well-established cause-effect relationships, it is found that certain dietary items have a greater influence. Here are some general guidelines to guide you better:

  1. Avoid processed and red meat: Processed and red meat are generally considered as any meat which has been artificially modified for taste or purposes of preservation. It must be noted that during this process of preservation there are certain chemicals mixed with it which makes it carcinogenic in nature. Though the WHO (World health organization) hasn’t recommended any specific amount for consumption, it has categorized processed and red meats as a Group 1 – carcinogen.
  2. Consume more fruits and vegetables: Plant foods including fruits and vegetables contain essential micronutrients like flavonoids and carotenoids which researchers’ state are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent the destruction of cells as they diminish free radicals. It is recommended to regularly consume fruits and vegetables like berries, broccoli, leafy greens, apples, papaya, among others.
  3. Reduce your alcohol and smoking habit: Along with processed and red meats, alcohol is designated as a Group 1 – carcinogen by the WHO. Cancer research has repeatedly linked consumption of alcohol to higher chances of cancer, irrespective of the alcohol type. A number of cancers including pharynx, liver, and breast are directly connected to alcohol.

Furthermore, it is suggested that an individual must limit to no more than a drink on any given day.

In conclusion, it must be stated that our diets play an indispensable role in the prevention of cancer. The consumption of healthy food items will only bolster our physical well-being along with the reduction of cancer occurrence. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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