What you eat directly impacts your health and many of its aspects. Food, when consumed consciously works as medicine, whereas when consumed carelessly can largely be responsible for the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart attack, and even cancer.
Several studies show that there are foods that can help make a difference to your health because of a few compounds that are beneficial, in this case, to decrease or prevent cancer risk.
We all have grown up to the phrase ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Apples contain polyphenols that have promising anticancer properties. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that possess anti-cancer and tumor-fighting properties. Because of the same compound apples also prevent inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and several infections. Research tells that polyphenol inhibits a protein called glucose transporter 2 which plays a key role in advanced-stage cancer cell growths.
Berries are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers. In particular, a compound that is found in blackberries- anthocyanin, is responsible for lowering biomarkers for colon cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries also play a role in preventing the growth of breast cancer tumors. So, replace your snacks with berries for hunger pangs and make sure that your diet includes 3 to 5 servings a week.
Carrots contain essential nutrients including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. Because of the presence of beta-carotene in high amounts, carrots play a key role in strengthening the immune system and that may prevent or reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Beta-carotene is also the compound responsible for its distinct color. Research also suggests that eating carrots regularly, 1 to 2 every other day, helps in reducing the risk of stomach cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts and similar leafy vegetables. This diverse vegetable family contains sulforaphane, a plant compound that possesses strong anti-cancer properties. As per studies, sulforaphane inhibits cancer cell growth and even stimulates cell death in the case of colon cancer to a great degree. Moreover, sulforaphane, when consumed with genistein, a compound found in soybeans, inhibits breast cancer development and helps in the reduction of the tumor size. The same compound also inhibits an enzyme - histone deacetylase, which is linked to cancer development. 3 to 5 servings per week in your diet is an effective cancer-preventive measure.
All nuts exhibit anticancer properties but walnuts outclass the rest of the family due to the presence of certain substances which play a vital role in keeping cancer at bay. Pedunculagin, a substance that walnuts contain, is metabolized into urolithins by our bodies. Urolithins, when coming in touch with estrogen receptors, act as a breast cancer preventive measure. Another study found out that whole walnuts and walnut oil have a high degree of tumor-suppressing properties. Two ounces per day is a good addition to your breakfast platter or evening snacking.
Salmon, Mackerel, and Anchovies, in particular, are a rich source of nutrients like Vitamin B, Potassium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that people with regular freshwater fish in their diet have a 53% lower risk for colorectal cancer. Consumption of fish oil also has multiple benefits, one of them being a key player in lowering down the risk for prostate cancer. Fish also lower heart disease, improves mental ability and protects from alcohol-related dementia in addition to cancer protection. Health experts suggest at least two servings of fish, especially fatty fish, each week. Omega-3 fats in fish oil are called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) which alter colon cell function and also curb down inflammation. However, relying on fish supplements might not be as effective.
Legumes including beans, peas, lentils are a rich fiber source and that lowers a person’s risk of developing cancer. People with regular legumes intake in their diet are less 20% less likely to develop breast cancer as per studies. Ensure that half a cup is added to your diet at least twice a week to keep away the possibility of certain cancers like bowel, breast, lung, and prostate. While they are packed with multiple nutrients which makes them important in this list, it is mainly the high degree of fiber in legumes which is linked to lowering down cancer risk. They are also rich in resistant starch which, when fermented with good bacteria in the gut, produces compounds and protective components that help lower down the risk of bowel cancer.
Eating a handful of grapes every other day adds the right amount of vitamins and nutrients to your body while reducing cancer risk. The skin of grapes is rich in resveratrol, which can stop cancer from starting in the breast, liver, and stomach. It has also been revealed that red and purple grapes are a richer source of resveratrol than green grapes. Experts suggest that supplements won’t be as rewarding as the fruit itself because by eating the fruit, the bioactive components that go into your bloodstream relocate to the rest of the region. Grapes are also rich in flavonoids, a compound that has shown immense potential against heart disease. Add some in your salad every day or just pick some off the vine when hunger attacks.
Please note that there is no single food that can cause or prevent anyone from this disease but good and right choices often help reduce the risk. Make sure to include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet and snack on these healthy food items to strike a perfect balance.