A balanced diet helps us to manage body weight and cancer risks can be reduced by doing that alone. Few of the diet-related cancers are bowel, lung, stomach, esophagus and larynx cancer. Experts say that “healthier diets could help prevent 1 in 10 cancers”. This stresses the importance of a well-planned and healthy diet in cancer prevention.
Anyone can use the following guidelines to protect themselves against cancer risks:
- Avoid salt
Excess salt intake could damage stomach lining and causes inflammation, making it more susceptible to cancer-causing chemicals.
- Limit your red meat intake
High red and processed meat intake has been associated with increased risk of bowel cancer. Haem, which is responsible for the red colour of meats could damage bowel cells and boost the product of harmful chemicals in the gut. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), eating 50g of processed meat (1/2 palm size) a day increases the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits
A research carried out in the UK suggests that about 20% of cancers developed as a result of low fruits and vegetables consumption. The bioflavonoids and phytochemicals present in them mops out DNA damaging chemicals to prevent formation of tumors.
- Reduce fat intake
Numerous researches linked high fat diet and obesity with increased cancer risks. Many experts encourage a fat intake of not more than 20% of daily energy requirement for extra health benefits. Avoid refined oils and include good oils like olive oil and sesame oil in food preparations to increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in our body.
- Drink quality water and limit alcohol intake
Heavy metals and other contaminants often make their way to our diet through water, so drink only filtered and boiled water to make sure it is safe.
- Excessive alcohol intake hinders absorption of the nutrients that protect our body.
- Cancer Research UK (2015) How Healthy Eating Prevents Cancer
- Mayo clinic (2015) Cancer Prevention: 7 Tips To Reduce Your Risk
- Berkoff, F. and Schwarcz, J. (2013) Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal, United States of America: The Reader’s Digest Association.