Your diet has a profound effect on your health. While everyone knows about this, few tend to abide by this. The fact is that what you eat even determines your risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Studies have shown that the development of cancer is dramatically influenced by what you eat. This is because there are many foods that contain harmful compounds that increase the growth of malignant and cancerous cells in the body.
At the same time, there are also many foods that contain highly beneficial compounds which actually decrease the growth of cancer. Today we take a look at certain food that lower your cancer risk and also some that increase the risk of developing cancer.
Foods That Lower Your Cancer Risk
Broccoli is a permanent feature on all nutritious food lists. This dark green cruciferous vegetable contains sulforaphane, which is a plant compound found mostly in cruciferous vegetables and it is believed to have powerful anti-cancer properties.
In fact, a test-tube study done by the College of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan found that intake of sulforaphane decreased the size as well as the number of breast cancer cells by nearly 75 percent. This is considered to be a huge improvement achieved just by one compound.
Similar to this, another study done by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute on mice found that when mice were treated with sulforaphane, it helped in killing off parasitic cancer cells and also decreased the tumor volume by more than 50 percent.
Several more studies have also found evidence that shows that the higher the intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, the lower is the risk of developing colorectal cancer, one of the most common types of cancer found today.
An analysis of 35 research studies carried out by the Shanghai Cancer Institute found that consuming more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli has a direct link with a decreased risk of both colon and colorectal cancer.
By including broccoli in a couple of meals in a week will help you benefit from the vegetable’s cancer-fighting abilities.
There have been numerous studies that have shown that eating more carrots is directly associated with a decreased risk of many types of cancer. For example, a study done by the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran looked at the results of five previous studies and found that consuming carrots regularly helps lower the risk of developing stomach cancer by over 25 percent.
Another study done by the First Affiliated Hospital at the Zhejiang University in China found that if you have a high intake of carrots, you will successfully lower your risk of developing prostate cancer by 18 percent.
You can not only include carrots into your diet as a healthy snack, but you can also have it as a healthy side dish. Having carrots a couple of times in a week help reduce the risk of cancer.
Berries are powerhouses of anthocyanins, which are plant-based pigments that contain high antioxidant properties and are also associated with reducing the risk of many types of cancer.
A study done by the University of Leicester in the UK found that when 25 participants who had colorectal cancer were given bilberry extract for seven continuous days, there was a reduction of seven percent in the growth of cancer cells in their body.
Another study carried out by The Ohio State University gave patients with oral cancer freeze-dried black raspberries. The study found that there was a reduction in certain markers that are typically linked with cancer progression in the body.
Including one to two servings of berries in your daily diet will help prevent the development of many types of cancer.
Beans contain some of the highest levels of fiber as compared to other vegetables. Many studies have shown that beans are helpful in protecting against colorectal cancer. In fact, one study which followed 1,905 participants who had a history of colorectal tumors found that those who ate more beans had a lesser risk of tumor recurrence. The study was carried out by the US-based National Cancer Institute.
However, presently available research on beans and cancer risk is limited to animal studies. More research is still needed to establish the exact manner in which beans help lower the risk of developing cancer.
Most diets that focus on healthy eating today promote the benefits of olive oil and also support the inclusion of this healthy fat into your diet. Olive oil has many health benefits. It is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet and also finds its way in many other diets.
Numerous studies have firmly established that higher consumption of olive oil may provide protection against cancer. In fact, a massive review of over 19 studies concluded that people who had the highest intake of olive oil had the lowest risk of developing cancer of the digestive system and breast cancer.
You should think about replacing other oils in your diet and opting for olive oil instead. Use olive oil over salads and also use it to cook your meal. Olive oil is also known to be good for the heart and lowers the risk of developing heart disease as well.
Now to take a look at leading cancer-causing foods.
Microwave popcorn is an extremely popular snack across homes today. However, microwave popcorn is also at the center of a raging debate that the chemicals lining the bag leads to cancer, especially lung cancer. It is believed that the fumes that get released from the artificial butter flavoring included in these popcorns contain a compound known as diacetyl, which is toxic for humans. It is always better to make your own popcorn in an old-fashioned way!
There is hardly anybody who is not aware of the harms of having refined sugar. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is one of the biggest cancer causing food along with other sources of refined sugars. In fact, even brown sugar is known to be highly refined and in fact, some of the molasses that get removed are even added back in to increase the color and flavor. Refined sugar or any foods made from refined sugars are one of the primary sources of insulin spikes. They also promote the growth of cancer cells in the body. A healthier option to refined sugar is to use organic honey, maple sugar, or coconut sugar.
When flour gets refined, the entire nutritional value of flour is removed. Then it is further bleached with chlorine gas to make the color and flavor more appealing to customers. Flour also has a very high glycemic index, meaning that is causes a huge spike in your insulin levels and does not even provide any nutritional content. White flour is one of the preferred fuel sources for the cancer cells in your body.
As more and more research continues to emerge and experts find out more about what influence different foods have on our health, it has become positively clear that what you eat can have a huge impact on determining your risk of cancer.
So while there are many foods that help lower this risk of cancer, there are also many foods which boost this risk further. This is why you should stick to having a safe diet that is rich in whole foods and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. A healthy lifestyle and regular exercise will help you manage your health easily.