Cancer is a serious health condition resulting due to the uncontrollable growth of some of the cells in the body forming tumours. If this condition is left untreated, the uncontrolled growth of the cells and tumours can destroy the body tissues and spread to the other body parts hampering normal body functions. It is known to be the second-leading cause of death globally. Every year, about 10 million individuals die due to this fatal disease. However, 40% of these mortalities can be prevented due to their link to modifiable risk factors, such as poor, unhealthy dietary habits, a lack of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. It is important to note that millions of lives can be saved annually by the implementation of appropriate resource strategies for the prevention of cancer, early detection, and the right line of treatment. For this purpose, every year, the 4th of February is recognized as World Cancer Day to raise awareness about cancer among the masses and educate and encourage people globally for prevention, detection, and treatment of this concerning condition.
World Cancer Day 2023 theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’, which is in continuation with the previous year’s theme and will continue further till 2024, as it’s an integral part of a 3-year campaign having well-framed objectives for each of the three years. The objective of this year’s theme is ‘Uniting Our Voices and Taking Action.’ It emphasizes building stronger connections and new innovative collaborations to unite like-minded individuals and mobilise these united people to spread the word about the condition and make their possible contribution to help the ailing individuals in receiving the right care and treatment. Fortunately, the risk of this serious disease can be lowered or prevented by making simple yet highly effective dietary and lifestyle modifications. So, you might be wondering what role diet has in reducing the risk of cancer and what dietary modifications can help you avoid falling prey to this serious condition, aren’t you? Get to know all about it.
Dietary Modifications That Can Help Lower or Prevent the Risk of Cancer
What you eat and adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle play a crucial role in avoiding falling prey to cancer. For instance, eating a nutritious diet comprising fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can lower your risk of or prevent common cancers. On the contrary, daily consumption of processed meat can raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer. If you have a family medical history of cancer, adopting healthy dietary habits can be highly beneficial for long-term good health. If you are already diagnosed with cancer, consuming a nutritious diet can help strengthen your body and support to improve your positive mindset and health during the challenging phase.
5 Easy Tips to Follow a Cancer-Prevention Diet
Here are some simple yet effective tips that can help minimize your risk of developing cancer.
Enrich Your Diet with Antioxidants
Having antioxidant abundant food sources and fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and healthy fats in your daily diet and minimizing your intake of processed meat, unhealthy fats, refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods help lower your risk of developing cancer.
Plant-based foods are packed with antioxidants that boost your immunity and safeguard you against cancer cells.
- The intake of berries, dark leafy vegetables, oranges, peas, and more vitamin C-rich sources safeguard you against esophageal cancer. Also, consuming non-starchy vegetables, such as beans, broccoli, and spinach helps minimize your risk of developing esophageal and stomach cancer.
- A diet rich in fruits helps reduce the risk of lung and stomach cancer.
- Having a diet rich in Brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, and other nutritious vegetables can help lower your risk of mouth, larynx, pharynx, and lung cancer.
- Adding lycopene-rich food sources to your diet can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. So, include tomatoes, watermelon, and guava in your diet for cancer prevention.
Focussing on adding whole foods, such as unpeeled apples instead of apple juice, can help incredibly. Prefer to have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Increase Your Intake of Fibre
Fibre plays a key role in maintaining your digestive system healthy and clean. It is effective in moving cancer-causing compounds through your digestive tract before they can cause any harm. A good intake of fibre can help in preventing colorectal cancer and other cancers related to the digestive system, such as mouth, pharynx, and mouth cancer. So, include fruits, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables, such as leafy greens, in your daily diet.
Have Healthy Fats
It is a common perception that consuming a diet high in fats elevates your risk of developing cancer. However, eating healthy fats protects you against various cancer. So, while choosing fats, make sure you include healthy fats in your diet and keep unhealthy fats at bay. Avoid saturated fats and trans fat. Here’s a quick rundown of various fats that you should differentiate while adding to your diet.
Trans fat is quite harmful to our health. So, avoid fried foods, such as fried chicken and hard taco shells. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated oil present in fried or packaged foods, such as cakes, cookies, pizza dough, crackers, and pie crusts, among others.
Make sure that your intake of dairy and red meat is not more than 10% of your daily intake of calories.
- Include More Unsaturated Fats
Adding avocadoes, fish, nuts, and olive oil to your diet helps you have unsaturated fats which help in cancer prevention. Omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds, salmon, and tuna are effective in fighting inflammation and supporting heart and brain health.
Cut Down on Refined Carbs and Sugar
The intake of refined carbohydrates can cause rapid spikes in your blood glucose levels. This increases your risk of developing prostate cancer and other concerning health issues. So, avoid foods having refined carbohydrates. Avoid eating sweetened cereals, white pasta, white bread, sugary drinks, and processed foods, such as pizza. Instead, prefer eating unprocessed/unrefined whole grains, such as whole wheat, whole millet, or multigrain bread, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, brown rice, and non-starchy vegetables. Eliminating refined carbs and adding whole foods to your diet help reduce your risk of developing prostate and colorectal cancer. Also, it helps maintain a healthy weight.
Avoid Red Meat and Processed Meat
Several medical studies reveal a link between the risk of developing cancer and the consumption of processed meat. It contains nitrate preservatives and other harmful substances that put you at risk of cancer. Avoiding red meat and processed meat in your diet can be a safe and healthy option to keep cancer at bay. Instead, add protein food sources, such as nuts, fish, soy, and eggs, to your diet in place of red meat.
How to Boost the Cancer-Fighting Effect of Food?
- Go for Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh raw fruits and vegetables have a high content of minerals and vitamins. So, whenever possible, prefer eating apples, bananas, cucumber, and carrots, among others, raw vegetables and fruits. Wash all these before eating them raw, as it helps minimize the residue of pesticides present on them.
- When Cooking, Steam Vegetables only till Tender
Avoid overcooking vegetables as it removes many minerals and vitamins from them. Steaming veggies just till they turn tender preserves more vitamins. When you boil vegetables, do not discard the cooking water. Instead, use the cooking water in preparing soup or any other fluid, as it ensures you receive vitamins in it.
- Use Herbs & Spices to Flavour Foods
Ginger, garlic, turmeric, and other spices not just flavour your culinary delights but also add a healthy dose of cancer-fighting nutrients. So, flavour your soups, salads, and other food preparations with Basil, coriander, and curry leaves.
8 Simple Diet and Lifestyle Measures for Cancer Prevention
Here’s a list of easy yet effective diet and lifestyle tips for cancer prevention.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight, and Avoid being Overweight or Obese
Excess weight gain that makes you obese or overweight increases the risk of various cancer. So, follow a diet and exercise routine to stay in shape and healthy.
- Stay Active
Include simple exercises for a minimum of 30 minutes in your daily routine. A brisk walk of 40 minutes is one of the simple yet effective exercises to practice. Regular exercise helps minimize the risk of various cancers.
- Avoid or Restrict Alcohol Intake
Heavy drinking increases your two-fold risk of developing liver cancer. So, prefer to avoid alcohol or limit it to a minimum.
- Have Nutritional Supplements if Needed
Consulting certified dieticians and nutritionists can help you have all the necessary nutritional supplements besides diet to protect you against cancer.
- Quit Smoking
Abstain from using any tobacco products.
- Avoid exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals in the environment.
- Put on protective clothing and use sunscreen for protection against UV rays.
- Have Adequate, Sound Sleep Daily.
So, let’s pledge this World Cancer Day to incorporate these healthy dietary and lifestyle modifications in our routine, safeguard ourselves and our loved ones from the deadly ailment, and spread the word to minimize the potential risk of cancer globally. Consulting certified dieticians and nutritionists, such as health experts at Health Total, can help you receive a personalized diet comprising all nutritious foods and guide you to eliminate all potentially harmful foods and beverages from your diet. Thus, it can help lower the risk of the fatal disease and help you receive protection against cancer with anti-oxidants rich and nutrient-dense foods. Our diet plan also helps eliminate all nutritional deficiencies, boosts your immunity, promotes weight loss to help you have a healthy weight, and improves your overall health. So, waste no time, get in touch with us at Health Total and step up to enjoy a healthy life with our nutrient-dense diet plan.
Sign up for a FREE consultation with Health Total experts to get more tips on lowering the risk of cancer with diet or for managing any other health condition. Call toll-free at 1-800-843-0206 and book an appointment!