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Diet for Cancer Prevention

Contributed by Soumita Biswas, Chief Nutritionist, Aster RV Hospital

In this year of 2020 also cancer is one of the major cause of mortality in India & all over the World. Report says lung cancer, Breast cancer in female and colorectal cancer are the topmost cause of mortality.

If we will look into the Risk factors, we can think about the prevention. So before discussing about the prevention let’s look into the Risk factor. The Risk factors are:

●        Obesity
●         Red meat and preserved meat consumption
●        Use of Preservative
●        High Fat consumption
●        Alcohol
●        Very hot drinks or food

Diet for Cancer Prevention

Now we can discuss about the dietary factors prevent cancer.

Obesity management: Obtaining or maintaining normal body weight helps in preventing Cancer.

To prevent obesity

Choose liberally: high fiber food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains i.e millet, brown rice, ragi, whole wheat flower, legumes.

Choose sparingly: bakery product including desert, cookies, pastries & cakes, soft drinks, juice etc.

Avoiding Preserved & red meat

International correlation studies show a strong association between per capital consumption of meat & colorectal cancer. Preserved meat & red meat increase the Risk of colon and rectal cancer because of dietary heme induced faecal cytotoxicity and hyperproliferation of colonic mucosa. Also heterocyclic amines formed during meat cooking is associated with breast cancer. It has proven that Vegan diet act as a positive catalyst for cancer prevention, which is a plant based diet excludes all types of animal protein, egg and dairy also.

Choose liberally: Freshly cut chicken, Fresh kababs or any prepation made at home

Choose sparingly or avoid: Any packaged meat &Red meat including Sausages, Pepperoni, packed kababs etc.

Fat moderation: A moderate fat diet benefits as total calorie consumption can be limited. Other way a high fat intake sincreases the level of cytotoxic free fatty acid or bile acid in the linen of large intestine. Omega 3 is helpful for cancer over Omega 6 in moderation. Also avoiding trans-fat is beneficial.

Choose liberally: Omega 3 sources i.e. chiaseeds, flaxseeds, fish in moderation

Choose sparingly: Bakery products, Chips containing trans fats.

Avoiding preservatives: preservatives including salt preserved food increase the Risk of stomach cancer by increased DNA synthesis or more cellular growth in gastric mucosa & destroy the mucosal barrier which leads to damage.

Choose liberally: Fresh foods

Choose sparingly or Avoid: Salted fish, cured meat, canned food etc.

High fiber diet: Fiber plays a major role in digestive health. It soften stools and help to move it through the intestinal tract in less time. Other hand fermentation product of fiber, short chain fatty acid have an inhibitory effect on colon carcinogens thus prevent colon cancer.

Choose liberally: Fruits and vegetables, otas, whole grains etc

Choose sparingly: products made with Refined flour i.e. cookies, pastries and fruit juices, soft drinks etc

So now we can mark few more factors which actually act against Cancer.

Phytochemicals: These are naturally occurring plant chemicals. Functions are

  • Stimulate immune system
  • Anticarcinogenic
  • Reduce oxidative damage to cells
  • Help to prevent DNA damage and repair
  • Help in hormonal regulation

Choose liberally:

Carotenoid found in red, orange and green fruit and vegetables i.e. tomato, broccoli, carrot, leafy veg etc

Flavonoids found in apple, citrus fruits, onion etc

Indole in cruciferous vegetables i.e. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc

Polyphenol in green tea, apple, whole grain etc

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby damage the cells.

Choose liberally:

Ascorbic acid containing foods such as orange, guava, Amla, Lime etc

Vitamin A or Retinol in leafy vegetable, orange, papaya etc

Vitamin E in nuts and seeds, bran etc

Although there are many foods may have cancer preventive effect including turmeric, onion, garlic, cabbage etc but still researches are going on to narrow down the list of foods which prevents Cancer.

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