Cancer is a burden on global society, both economically and emotionally. What most people don’t know, or chose to ignore, is the fact that making small dietary changes can have an important role in determining the risk of developing the disease.
What you eat greatly influences your health. Having mostly fresh and organic meals is ideal, but not always possible. There are some foods that have a stronger association with preventing and managing cancers and can help you stay on top of your macronutrient intake easier.
Garlic, for example, is one of the most popular ingredients around the world. It is also a superfood, meaning it provides considerable health benefits. A 2014 study revealed that: “Garlic has been found to contain a large number of potent bioactive compounds with anticancer properties, largely allylsulfide derivatives. Different garlic derivatives have been reported to modulate an increasing number of molecular mechanisms in carcinogenesis, such as DNA adduct formation, mutagenesis, scavenging of free radicals, cell proliferation and differentiation as well as angiogenesis”.
What is commonly referred to as “good fats”, meaning poly- and monosaturated fats, from foods like peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, are also linked to having anticancer properties. One systematic review described: “overall, olive oil consumption was associated with lower odds of cancer development. Most prominent results were observed for breast cancer and cancers of the digestive system”.
Fruits and vegetables should be the staple of any diet. Doctors advise a number of portions of greens daily, to maintain a healthy and balanced life. Oranges, grapefruits, yellow and dark green veggies are particularly recommended. An article from doctors at the University of Alabama highlights that “cruciferous vegetables are enriched with several chemical components that have tremendous negative effects on multiple pathways of cancer cells due to their antiproliferative and anti-tumorigenic properties”.
Another healthy protein source that also protects against tumors is fish. Several papers have addressed this claim, with one, in particular, concluding that “findings suggest that a diet high in fish may be protective against lymphohematopoietic cancers and confirm the reduced risk among fish workers”.
One folk remedy that has turned out to have real medical properties is ginger. For many centuries, it was used to treat anything from indigestion to pains and even cancer. A 2017 study coming to confirm these claims “found that the ginger extract has anticancer properties through p53 pathway to induce apoptosis.”
Blueberries and grapes can be a great snack or dessert, but they also help fight against cancers. Scientists found that “resveratrol, a compound in red grapes, can be used as a radiosensitizer for prostate cancer”. It helps “by inhibition of proliferation and promotion of apoptosis”, contributing to cancer cell death.
You can always rely on nature to provide a healthy (and tasty) ally against cancer!