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Posts Tagged ‘foods to prevent cancer’

February is Cancer Prevention Month. If given a choice, who Healthy Foodswouldn’t choose to stay cancer free? Many speak of the dreaded “C” word. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), nearly half of the most common cancers can be prevented. About one-third of those cancers in the United States could be avoided if Americans chose to move more, maintained appropriate weight, and ate healthful foods.

Some of the cancers linked directly to lifestyle include colorectal, breast, endometrial, esophageal, gallbladder, kidney, liver, lung, pancreatic, prostate, stomach, ovarian, and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. Other cancers have also been strongly linked to lifestyle. Here are several steps for cancer prevention summarized from AICR recommendations.

  • Remain lean but not underweight
  • Participate in physical activity for 30 minutes each day
  • Avoid sugary drinks and high calorie foods
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
  • Limit red meat
  • Limit alcoholic beverages
  • Limit excessive salt and processed foods
  • Avoid supplements that claim to cut cancer risk

On their website, AICR identifies specific foods that fight cancer and why these foods are beneficial in our efforts to combat this feared disease. A major part of many of these foods is their antioxidant content. A few examples include:

Apples – The antioxidant comes from several phytochemicals, namely quercetin, epicatechin, and anthocyanins. The peels have additional antioxidants.

Blueberries – These fruits are one of the highest in antioxidants. They also contribute high levels of vitamins C and K, manganese, and dietary fiber.

Coffee – America’s favorite beverage has concentrated sources of the antioxidant phytochemicals. Chlorogenic acid is a major source of phenols in coffee, and quinic acid is partly responsible for coffee’s acidic taste.

Legumes – In addition to antioxidants, legumes contain lignans (plant-based substances that may act like human estrogen) and saponins (health-promoting complex compounds) and other substances that may protect against cancer.

Dark green vegetables – Vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine, mustard greens, collard greens and others provide excellent sources of carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin plus saponins and flavonoids. These chemicals may possibly protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. They may also inhibit the growth of certain types of cells associated with breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers.

For an extensive review, AICR gives current research on many other foods that can help combat cancer such as cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, others), cherries, tea, cranberries, garlic, soy, winter squash, tomatoes, whole grains, and nuts (especially walnuts). Prevention isn’t just a one month activity. Include the suggested foods in your diet all year to get the most benefits and help prevent cancer.

 

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