Cancer Risk and food
Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cancer. It increases the risk of developing 13 different kinds of cancer including cancer of the breast, colon, kidney, and pancreas. If you are overweight due to a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, shedding weight can drastically reduce your cancer risk.
How does Obesity lead to Cancer?
If you have excess fat deposits you become insulin resistant over time. Your cells are unable to process glucose and this can lead to proliferation into tumors.
It causes an increase in Oestrogen levels which can cause Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
Excess fat is also correlated with inflammation of the body which increases cancer risk.
Foods that prevent Cancer: Cancer-fighting foods
There’s no single food that can help prevent cancer but there are some cancer-fighting foods that reduce your risk of developing the disease. If you are looking at an Anti-Cancer diet, you can follow the below-mentioned steps towards better holistic health.
Vegetables such as Broccoli,cauliflower and Cabbage have trace amounts of sulforaphane which has proven cancer-fighting properties. They also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and reduce your cancer risk.
Anti-Cancer fruits are those which are mostly packed in Antioxidants and Vitamin C. Gorge on Blueberries, Cherries, Oranges and Grapefruit to help reduce cancer risk. It is recommended for tinned fruit or cooked dried fruit such as in cake, flapjacks or cereals bars.
The humble Indian spice is now being hailed in the west for its cancer-fighting properties. Studies have discovered that 4 gms of Curcumin daily reduced Colon cancer risk by almost 40%. Turmeric is easy to include in your diet as it can be added to curries or meals without altering the taste. Traditionally, it is also mixed into a glass of warm milk as an immunity booster.
Allicin contained in Garlic has been found to have some Cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that compounds in Garlic are effective in promoting DNA repair and can decrease inflammation reducing the risk of cancer. Also, the various phytochemicals in Garlic can help lower the risk of Colorectal Cancer.
Foods to avoid: Cancer-causing foods
Similar to cancer-fighting foods, some cancer-causing foods hamper your overall health and put you at a higher risk of developing cancer. Here are the foods to cut out of your diet to reduce your cancer risk.
Simple Sugars and Carbs
Any food that causes a spike in your blood sugar levels can cause cancer in the long run. Studies show that individuals who consume a high level of refined carbs double their risk of developing colon cancer. High levels of sugar are also detrimental as they promote cell division which eventually leads to tumors. The risk is amplified if you have a condition such as Diabetes which hampers your body’s ability to process glucose.
Your body processes alcohol and creates acetaldehyde as a by-product. This compound can destroy DNA in the body increasing your risk of certain kinds of cancers (Neck, Liver, Breast, Colorectal). Excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking can multiply the risk manifold. If you do indulge in alcohol, have no more than two standard servings in a day.
Barbecued or Fried Meats
Eating a large amount of Barbecued meat has been linked to a high risk of Colorectal and Prostate cancer. When the meat is cooked at very high temperatures, it releases certain chemical compounds that may adversely affect your DNA. Hence it’s recommended to boil, bake or braise your meat to reduce the risk of carcinogens
Cured meats that have been salted or smoked may often contain chemical preservatives. They also have nitrites and nitrates in them which increase the risk of cancer. Serving size and frequency also factor into the mix, studies have found that having 50 gms of processed meat a day increases your risk of cancer by 18%.
Although it may seem like a healthier option many so-called ‘diet foods’ may do more harm than good. Diet foods that have artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Saccharin, and Aspartame were found to lead to a higher risk of cancer.
Diet for Cancer patients: How to speed up recovery
When you have cancer, your food and immunity levels play an important part in your recovery after treatment. Your body needs the right kind of nutrition and the right amount of calories to stay strong. If you are recovering from Cancer treatment it may be hard for you to even work up the appetite to keep yourself full, hence planning out your meals in advance helps the process.
Eat plenty of protein
Protein can help you build up your atrophied muscles. It also helps repair damage from your treatment. Have high protein foods such as Lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk and more. If you are vegetarian you can opt for Beans, Seeds, and Nuts to get your protein fix. Consume Pasteurized or hard boiled eggs, Cooked poultry, well-done meats, cooked fish, and seafood.
Vegetables and Fruits
Try to eat at least 2 servings of fruits and veggies in a day. Citrus fruits, colorful fruits, and deep green vegetables are best for you. Make sure that you wash all the vegetables thoroughly as they are often sprayed with a pesticide which is a carcinogen.Consume good quality fruits with thick skin such as orange, bananas, kinu, sweetlime, pomegranate.
Nuts are a healthy source of calories and help you boost your calorie intake without eating too much food. This is especially helpful if you are weak and don’t feel up to eating a whole meal. A nutrient and energy-dense snack like nuts work best for you as they are a great source of proteins, healthy fats, and minerals. You can take your pick at roasted Almonds, Walnuts, Pecan Nuts or roasted cashews as all these are a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.