Cancer is a prevalent disorder, which if not diagnosed in its early stages, can be life-threatening. It is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths all over the globe. According to the World Health Organization, out of 9.6 million people who lost the battle to cancer in 2018, around 70% belonged to the developing regions. A way to prevent this would be to shift to a plant-based diet.
Cancer is of different types, depending upon the tissue or organ of the body in which cells are abnormally grown. Among all, Lung cancer is the most deadly as it took the lives of 1.76 million people in 2018, followed by Colorectal and stomach cancer, which caused the death of 862 000 and 783 000 people worldwide.
Conventional methods of treating cancer include radiotherapy, cytotoxic chemotherapy, and surgery, all of which have strong potential to kill cancerous cells. However, due to the high cost and multiple side-effects, scientists are looking for novel methods for the management of cancer.
Among many other factors, eating habits can also lead to cancer development; therefore, eating healthy food is now considered an appropriate and cost-effective approach to prevent and even reverse cancer.
In the current article, we have mentioned the top ten dietary habits that can protect you from cancer. We have also mentioned their possible mechanism of action.
- Eat Foods that Help in Reducing Obesity
Obesity is known as the “mother of diseases” as it stimulates the development of various chronic diseases, including; Cancer. Over-eating enhances the release of chymotrypsin, followed by its absorbance in the gut. This chymotrypsin is the chief reason for cancer-associated obesity.
Obesity also increases inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are also two main contributing factors of cancer. In a recent study on American males, it is found that obesity is directly linked to prostate cancer, and this association is more closely linked to African American individuals.
Therefore, if a specific diet reduces body mass index, it will automatically prevent obesity-related secondary complications. Foods that can reduce your body weight include grapefruit, beans, cruciferous vegetables, boiled potatoes, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Do Not Eat Meat
According to the recent experimental data, it is observed that cooking meat for a longer period at a high temperature leads to the generation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines, which ultimately causes colorectal cancer.
Furthermore, red meat is rich in heme iron, which also promotes the formation of the N-nitroso compound. This compound is carcinogenic and is reported to be linked to colorectal cancer.
- Reduce the Intake of Milk and Other Dairy Products
Milk and its related dairy products are rich in saturated fatty acids that are responsible for many chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer, particularly ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers.
Recent research conducted by the National Cancer Institute of the US depicted that American women who intake cream, cheddar, and other cheeses are 53% at a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Avoid Growth Stimulants
Animal foods are a rich source of different growth factors, such as Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Increased IGF-1 level in bloodstream promotes many types of cancer, most prominent among which are prostate cancer, breast cancer.
Previous studies have shown that people having elevated IGF-1 levels are 50% and 65% more at risk of prostate and breast cancer.
- Give Up on Eating Foods Containing Toxins
Toxins are the harmful chemicals which through complex mechanism promotes cancer development. They can even cause genetic alterations to cause cancer.
There can be many foods containing toxins in our diet, such as fruit seeds and pits, alcohol, kumara, fish oil, highly processed foods, and sugary drinks. Therefore, we should try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Do Not Eat Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils, such as olive, safflower, and isolated corn oil, generate harmful toxic chemicals which are highly carcinogenic. They significantly increase the chances of colon, prostate, and breast cancer in people who consume them.
- Increase Nutrients Uptake
The critical nutrients that can play a crucial role in the amelioration of cancer are carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fats, and proteins. They can cope up with growing tumors by decreasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and inducing apoptosis in cancerous cells and tumor growth inhibition.
- Eat Plant-Based Diet
If a person eats plant-based foods and his body starts to develop cancer, then Phyto-chemicals present within his diet would fight with the development of cancer and ultimately protecting the body against cancer. A recent study published in Cancer Management and Research notes journals depicted that the use of the plant-based diet can lower down the risk of cancer by 10%.
- Increase the Consumption of Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 or Folic acid is also a Phyto-compound whose deficiency is linked to many types of cancer, peculiarly prostate cancer. In a ten-year study on 3539 cancer patients of Uruguay, the results of this study showed that Folic acid consumption resulted in a significant decrease of the upper aerodigestive tract, esophagus, kidney, colorectal, and oral cavity, and pharynx cancer.
- Consume Foods that Promote Healthy Intestinal Bacteria
Healthy Bacteria in the gut are required to maintain a healthy body environment. They fight against different diseases such as diabetes, cirrhosis, and even cancer. Foods that harm the gut flora increase the risk of various gastrointestinal cancers; therefore, such foods must be avoided.
In contrast, foods that promote healthy gut flora must be included in your diet. Yogurt, kefir, ginger, almonds, miso, certain fruits, olive oils, sourdough, sauerkraut, and kimchi are the example of such foods which promote gut flora bacteria.
In short, our diet and nutrition play a very crucial role in slowing and reversing cancer. A diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, significantly improves the chances of preventing cancer. Moreover, you should avoid consuming processed foods, meats, alcohol, tobacco, and salt.