The link between nutrition and cancer is an important relationship to understand and one that many people today seem to forget. What many people may not realize is that nearly 35% of all cancers are tied to nutrition in some way. Consequently, there have been a number of studies devoted to the research of cancer-fighting foods and diets and the results tend towards a number of recurring trends.
The big picture of the research available shows that eating more fruits and vegetables, and less meat and highly saturated fat dairy products will improve your odds of avoiding nutrition-related cancers. Additionally, cooking methods that use exposure to high heat and charring (barbeque, grilling) have been linked to higher risk of cancer. Not to worry though, a balanced diet lowers the risk of cancer and there are a number of foods that actively reduce the risk of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends filling 2/3 of your plate with fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans.
More specifically, dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard are high in fiber, folates, cartenoids and flavonoids that protect against a number of cancers. Green tea is also high in flavonoids and polyphenols that act as antioxidants that can prevent liver, colon, breast and prostate cancer. Berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) are also high in fiber and Vitamin C and can protect against esophagus and colorectal cancer.
In terms of food to avoid, one of the worst foods is full, fat regular bacon. It is extremely high in saturated fat and is full of nitrites and other cancer-contributing ingredients. Look instead for reduced fat bacon or turkey bacon that is specifically labeled to be nitrate-free. Look for nitrate-free labeling on other processed meats as well, such as lunchmeat, sausage and hot dogs. Also, avoid any foods that contain GMOs but beware, you won’t find GMOs on the nutrition label so be sure to look for foods that are specifically labeled to be non-GMO.
A few powerful changes in lifestyle and diet can be incredibly influential in reducing the risk of cancer. Simple changes – from being more aware of what’s in your food to including foods in your meals that prevent cancer in or diet all help in making informed decisions when it comes to nutrition and all help reduce the risk of developing nutrition-related cancers.