Healthy nutrition may help prevent cancer. While there is no single superfood that can prevent cancer, a holistic healthy nutrition approach is likely to be most beneficial. What foods you consume makes a big difference in terms of how your body functions and whether is remains disease free. Food is medicine!
Healthy Nutrition May Prevent Cancer
Scientists estimate that healthy nutrition is the optimal diet for cancer may reduce your risk by up to 70% and would likely help recovery from cancer as well. Certain foods seem to fight cancer by blocking the blood vessels that feed cancer in a process called anti-angiogenesis.
However, nutrition is complex, and how effective certain foods are at fighting cancer varies depending on how they’re cultivated, processed, stored and cooked.
Healthline provides this handy guide to cancer preventing healthy foods.
Key Healthy Nutrition Anti-Cancer Food Groups
Here are some foods to include in your healthy nutrition anti-cancer diet:
Observational studies have linked a higher consumption of vegetables with a lower risk of cancer. Vegetables contain cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, contain sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to reduce tumor size in mice by more than 50%. Other vegetables, such as tomatoes and carrots, are linked to a decreased risk of prostate, stomach and lung cancer.
Fruits contain antioxidants and other phytochemicals, which may help prevent cancer. One review found that at least three servings of citrus fruits per week reduced stomach cancer risk by 28%.
Flaxseeds have been associated with protective effects against certain cancers and may even reduce the spread of cancer cells. One study found that men with prostate cancer taking 30 grams — or about 4 1/4 tablespoons — of ground flaxseed daily experienced slower cancer growth and spread than the control group. Similar results were found in women with breast cancer.
Some test-tube and animal studies have found that cinnamon may have anti-cancer properties and prevent cancer cells from spreading.
Additionally, curcumin, which is present in turmeric, may help fight cancer. One 30-day study found that 4 grams of curcumin daily reduced potentially cancerous lesions in the colon by 40% in 44 people not receiving treatment.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are high in fiber, and some studies suggest that higher intake of this nutrient may protect against colorectal cancer. One study in over 3,500 people found that those eating the most legumes had up to a 50% lower risk of certain types of cancers.
Regularly eating nuts may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer. One study in more than 19,000 people found that those who ate more nuts had a reduced risk of dying from cancer.
Many studies show a link between olive oil and reduced cancer risk. A large review of observational studies found that people who consumed the highest amount of olive oil had a 42% lower risk of cancer, compared to the control group.
Garlic contains allicin, which has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties in test-tube studies. Other studies have found an association between garlic intake and a lower risk of specific types of cancer, including stomach and prostate cancer.
There’s evidence that eating fresh fish can help protect against cancer, possibly due to healthy fats that can reduce inflammation. A large review of 41 studies found that regularly eating fish reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 12%.
The majority of evidence suggests that eating certain dairy products may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
The type and amount of dairy consumed are important.
For example, moderate consumption of high-quality dairy products, such as raw milk, fermented milk products and milk from grass-fed cows, may have a protective effect.
This is likely due to higher levels of beneficial fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and fat-soluble vitamins.
On the other hand, high consumption of mass-produced and processed dairy products are associated with an increased risk of certain diseases, including cancer.
The reasons behind these results aren’t fully understood but may be due to hormones present in milk from pregnant cows or IGF-1.
While no single food can protect against cancer, healthy nutrition, which involves eating a diet full of diverse whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, spices, healthy fats, fresh fish and high-quality dairy, may reduce cancer risk.
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