Cancer is terrible. Truly.
What else is terrible? The fact that 1/3 of cancer cases are preventable. This means 5 million cancer cases in the United States each didn’t need to happen.
There are evidence-based ways to decrease cancer. And I feel it’s my duty to share this knowledge with you.
Three foods can really and truly decrease your risk of common cancers.
CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #1: Fruits
This is good news for you.
Fruit tastes delicious, has great nutritional value, and prevents cancer. Really.
What counts as fruit in these studies? Fresh, frozen, canned, raw and cooked fruits. This doesn’t count nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.
Fruit consumption decreases the risk of esophagus, stomach, and lung cancer.
Fruit probably decreases the risk of other cancers — such as nasopharynx, colon, and rectal cancer.
Fruit works it’s cancer protecting magic through many mechanisms. Polyphenols and carotenoids contained in fruit have antioxidant and antiproliferative effects. Not only do they have these effects, but they also modulate hormone metabolism, immune function, and play an important role in DNA synthesis.
Load up on fruits everyday for cancer protection! Some of my favorites include organic blueberries, mangoes, apples, bananas, and huckleberries.
CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #2: Non-Starchy Vegetables
Your mom was right. You should eat your vegetables.
Because vegetables convincingly decrease the risk of several cancers such as mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Furthermore, vegetables probably decrease the risk of other cancers (think nasopharynx, colon, lung, and rectum).
This is great news for several reasons. One, vegetables are more affordable than many other food groups (like dairy and meat). Two, you can grow you own if you want to. And lastly, vegetables have a whole host of other health promoting benefits.
So what counts as vegetables in terms of cancer prevention? Primarily, the non-starchy ones. This means all vegetables excluding potatoes and pulses (beans, lentils, and peas). And it includes fresh, frozen, canned, raw or cooked varieties.
CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #3: Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber. Not the sexiest sounding of all the foods. However, dietary fiber can pack a serious cancer preventing punch.
Colon, rectal, and breast cancer can all be prevented by eating sufficient dietary fiber.
Overall, dietary fiber prevents cancer by preventing insulin-resistance, decreasing inflammation, and by optimizing colonic microflora. Specifically, it is hypothesized dietary fiber reduces the levels of circulating steroid hormone, therefore playing a protective role in hormone-dependent cancers. In terms of colorectal cancer, dietary fiber is thought to increase stool bulk and dilute carcinogens through water binding, decrease intestinal transit time and carcinogen activity, as well as having anti proliferative properties.
You may be wondering exactly what counts as dietary fiber. That is an excellent question.
Many different foods contain dietary fiber. Fruit and vegetables contain dietary fiber. So do beans and legumes. Whole grains (wheat, brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, etc.) also count. Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, and pecans, are higher in dietary fiber. Oat bran is also a source.
How much dietary fiber is considered sufficient? At least 25 grams a day.
FROM KNOWLEDGE TO POWER
Now you know the three foods to eat NOW to prevent cancer. Fruit, vegetables, and dietary fiber.
How do you plan to maximize cancer prevention through diet? Maybe it’s adding a green smoothie to your morning. Or trying my morning glory oatmeal (hint: it contains fruit and dietary fiber sources). Maybe you add up how much dietary fiber you’re getting.
Whatever you decide, may it help you (and your loved ones) prevent cancer.
Looking for more cancer prevention? Check out The ONE Thing You Should Do this Weekend to Prevent the Most Common Cancers.