Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cancer Prevention: the DOs and DON'Ts (Part II)

In the first part, we discussed the foods and behaviors you should try to avoid. Now let's be positive and Say Yes to...

Fiber-rich food: studies show that an increased consumption of fiber-rich foods decreases risk for colon cancer. The mechanism is not very well known. However, it seems that fibers accelerate passage of food in the digestive tract and prevent the contact between those foods and the colon cells. Exposure to carcinogens as well as the risk for cancer decrease. So, have more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain breads and cereals.

Folate or Vitamin B9: it plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. Inadequate folate intake may allow DNA damage to accumulate. Eat dark green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, beets and asparagus to protect yourself against cancers of the colon and the esophagus.

Antioxidant vitamins: Vitamin E, C and A (beta-carotene) are known to be antioxidants. They protect against free radicals and other carcinogenic substances.
Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils.
Vitamin C rich foods are oranges, pepper, strawberry, kiwi etc.
Beta carotene is found in carrots, pumpkins, spinach and sweet potatoes.

Calcium and vitamin D: you should meet the recommendations of calcium intake (600-1000mg easily provided by three servings of calcium rich foods). It seems that calcium may be protective against colon cancer. Vitamin D added to calcium rich foods seems to help too.

Tea: flavonoids found in tea seem to protect from lung and colorectal cancer. However, be careful not to drink them too hot as the regular consumption of very hot drinks has been associated with esophageal cancer.

Soy and phytoestrogens: soy is plant-based protein and it contains phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens and compounds such as isoflavones and lignans). A soy containing diet may be protective against breast cancer especially if that diet is consumed before reaching adulthood. However, it seems that women who are already diagnosed with breast cancer should limit those foods.

Fruits and vegetables: Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung, stomach, kidney, colon, rectum, ovary and bladder. It is also related to a lower risk of breast cancer. Apart from their fiber content, fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidant vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, E and selenium) as well as phytochemicals. The latter are nonnutritive compounds that protect against cancer. Studies suggest that phytochemicals consumed from different fruits and vegetables each day have a synergistic and additive effect to inhibit cell overgrowth. A color code system was created in order to help you ensure that you are having the variety of phytochemicals needed.

Fruits and vegetables
Tomatoes and tomato products, pink grapefruits, watermelon
Red/ Purple
Anthocyanins, Polyphenols
Berries, grapes, red wine, prunes
α and β carotene
Carrots, mangoes, pumpkin
Orange/ Yellow
Β cryptoxanthin, flavonoids
Cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, papaya, nectarines
Yellow/ Green
Lutein, zeaxanthin
Spinach, avocado, honeydew, collard and turnip greens
Sulforanes, indoles
Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
White/ Green
Allyl sulphides
Leeks, onion, garlic, chives

You should consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day in order to benefit from their protective substances.

Restricted calorie intake: cancer rate falls when calorie intake is reduced. It is one of the most effective dietary interventions to prevent cancer. In fact, excess calories from carbs, proteins and fats raise cancer rates.

Physical activity: it is known to decrease risk of colon and breast cancer.

It is true that cancer is a very complicated and unpredictable group of illnesses and that we cannot cover every aspect and follow all recommendations to prevent it. However, we can at least try to adopt a healthy lifestyle: watch out for the quality and quantity of foods in your diet and don’t forget to exercise regularly!


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Regular check-up with your physician also helps. This is to provide preventive care for your body.

Anne said...

These foods do not only give us strength and immune system boost, but they are also important in making our teeth and bones stronger. According to my Fredericksburg dentist, cucumber is a healthy vegetable that protects us from certain diseases and gives a cleaning and antiseptic effects in the mouth, thus preventing tooth decays and bad breath.

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Healthy Smiles Dental Group said...

Thanks for sharing this useful information. i will try this and never forget to exercise regularly. As par my dentist cucumber, cabbiage is a healthy food that protects us from many disease and give cleaning effects in the mouth. Teeth cleaning is also must for health.

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