Cancer is one of the most terrifying diseases known to mankind, sadly affecting millions of people around the world. But it need not be so; current research has shown that there are a variety of daily habits and dietary changes that can make a big difference in reducing your risk of cancer.
One of these life changes is nutrition – incorporating certain foods into your diet can not only help prevent cancer, but also alleviate existing cases. In this blog post, we’ll explore which nutrient-dense foods you should add to your meal plan for optimal health and to potentially reduce the threat of developing cancer in the near future.
The development of cancer in figures.
In 2018, according to the National Cancer Institute (INCa), there were approximately 382,000 new cases of cancer in France. Among them: 204,600 were diagnosed in men and 177,400 in women. This increase in the number of new cancer cases in France over the past 30 years can be attributed to several factors. In particular the aging of the population, which leads to an increase in breast and prostate cancers, as well as an improvement in diagnostic methods.
Moreover, certain risky behaviors, such as smoking among women, have also contributed to this trend. The national institute has recorded the most common cancers in men:
- 50,400 cases of prostate cancer.
- 31,200 cases of lung cancer.
- And 23,000 cases of colorectal cancer.
- 58,500 cases of breast cancer.
- 20,100 cases of colorectal cancer.
- And 15,100 cases of lung cancer.
How nutrition can influence the risk of cancer development?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to reduce the risk of developing cancer. According to the journal Cancer Research UK, research has shown that getting the right diet and eating balanced meals can be a crucial factor in preventing cancer. Likewise, nutritional habits play an important role in inflammation, immune system function, and hormones, all of which can influence your overall cancer risk.
Here are the general rules to adopt to prevent the development of cancer:
- Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Make sure you get your recommended daily intake of protein, it is thanks to them that the damage caused by the carcinogenic components present in charred or overcooked meats or fish is reduced.
- Limit your intake of processed foods high in saturated fat and added sugars.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Reduce or avoid certain habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Limit your sugar and salt intake.
- Stay hydrated!
What types of foods should be favored to reduce the risk of developing cancer?
Foods rich in antioxidants:
Composing meals based on different foods with antioxidant properties can protect you from carcinogenic free radicals that damage the cells, tissues and organs of the body. Examples of foods rich in antioxidants include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains rich in vitamins A, C and E, selenium, lycopene, carotenoids, zinc, iron and polyphenols.
The theory goes that choosing to eat more of these types of foods minimizes the risk of developing cancer by strengthening the body’s defense system. Replacing more processed or less healthy foods with foods high in antioxidants can thus support a healthier lifestyle.
Foods high in fiber:
The potential link between eating fiber-rich foods and reducing the development of cancer has been the subject of numerous studies. It turns out there’s good evidence that high-fiber diets may play an important role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal, gastric, and small intestine cancer. This is thought to be due to how high fiber diets affect the digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients, such as carbohydrates.
Fiber has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help suppress cell growth, which may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Although fiber is not necessarily a guarantee against the development of cancer, making smart dietary choices by selecting foods high in fiber can be beneficial in protecting overall health.
Foods rich in phytonutrients.
A growing body of evidence suggests that certain phytonutrient-rich foods may help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Foods such as cruciferous vegetables, alliums, and green tea are believed to contain particular compounds that have chemoprotective effects when consumed.
These compounds can inhibit carcinogenesis by deactivating enzymes linked to the activation of carcinogens, reducing inflammation and increasing antioxidant protection in cells. With more research needed in this area, adding phytonutrient-rich foods to the diet is a rational choice for preventing cancer and reducing disease development.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce the risk of certain cancers. These polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly found in fatty fish, nuts and some vegetable oils, may have a protective effect, especially if included as part of a balanced diet.
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a reduced risk of developing cancers linked to cell damage and inflammation, among other health benefits. With the increasing availability of products such as omega-3 enriched eggs and supplements that make it easier than ever to incorporate these beneficial fatty acids into the daily diet, consumers have a real opportunity to play an active role in cancer prevention through their food choices.