By Ms. Pavithra Raj, Chief Dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur
Having a nutritious and balanced diet is the most important way to keep ourselves healthy. This will support and boost our immunity.A healthy lifestyle always helps in building a healthy and immunized body. In specific to our diet, a well-balanced diet may help in reducing the risk of dealing with life threatening diseases like cancer, especially blood cancer. Blood Cancer is among the common type of cancers that affect people of all age groups, and India stands 3rd in number when it comes to blood cancer.
Blood cancer usually occurs when DNA is faultily altered. It happens when there is a fault in the development of blood cells, which leads to improper functioning of cells. As per many experts in the field of leukemia (bloodcancer), 90% of the types of blood cancer can be cured. And almost 30-35% of people deal with these types of diseases only due to improper diet. This genetically occurring blood infection is among those diseases which can be prevented or delayed if your lifestyle and food patterns are healthy. And a balanced and healthy diet includes all types of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, and low-fat proteins, such as fish, lean meats and poultry.
Ways to lower the risk of blood cancer
Genetics and environment, are few risk factors for cancer. These factors cannot be avoided, but as per research about 70% of lifetime cancers can be preventable only through lifestyle changes, such as –
- Proper/right body weight
- Staying hydrated
- Zero usage of tobacco
- Exercising regularly
These changes in lifestyle can play a vital role in having a healthy body. Eating vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil also known as Mediterranean diet, can lower the risk of a variety of common cancers. And this effect is more on people who have a history of cancer in their family.These changes in the long term can bring in a huge impact on health. And for people who are already dealing with cancer, a rich nutritious diet will provide the immunity in them in their challenging times.
One of the other ways to prevent blood cancer is through consuming antioxidants, more specifically plant based foods. These foods have naturally occurring anti-oxidants in them, this will help in boosting your immunity system and help in fighting against cancer cells. Some foods that are rich in anti-oxidants are
- Carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash
- Broccoli, spinach, and beans (non-starchy vegetables)
- Tomatoes, guava, watermelon lycopene high foods
- Oranges, berries, peas, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and other foods high in vitamin C
- Add ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric and coriander in your foods, this will boost your immunity to fight cancer producing cells.
Avoid practices like –
- Consuming apple juice, instead eat the whole apple
- Trans – fat, fried, foods should be avoided pizza, French fries, fried chicken, cookies, muffins
- Limit the saturated fat based foods like red meat and dairy products
- Consume more unsaturated fats like fish, olive oil, nuts, avocados, flaxseeds
It is said that, “a healthy and balanced diet, builds and strengthens a person from their core.” Put a tab on your unhealthy habits, make them occasional and strictly follow a totally nutritional diet. Make sure that your diet includes all the energy and immunity building foods. Follow a proper diet plan, consult a dietician if required.