We all know that the foods we eat play a key role in our health. In general, people who consume a healthy diet tend to have fewer health problems. Whilst those who have a diet high in fat and highly processed foods, tend to have an increase in health problems. One current area of research is the effect of certain foods and nutrients on risk of developing particular cancers. This article provides general information about foods that may help decrease the risk of cancer.
Antioxidants are chemicals that are found in many fruits and vegetables that help protect the body from damage from free radicals that occur during metabolism. The damage caused by free radicals has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, so eating foods that are high in antioxidants is believed to be beneficial in protecting against some cancers. Antioxidants include:
- Vitamin A
- Beta Carotene
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Vitamin D is needed in order for calcium to be absorbed properly in the body. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D helps cells to mature faster. Vitamin D may also enhance the communication between cells. Both of these cellular effects are believed to provide some protection against the development of cancers, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancer.
Dietary fibre, which is found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and oats, has been linked to a decreased risk of some cancers, most notably colorectal cancers.
Green tea, which contains high levels of flavonoids, antioxidants, and polyphenols, has also shown some benefit in reducing cancer risk. While preliminary studies have shown potential, study is ongoing to better determine the relation between green tea and cancer risk. It is currently believed that the reduced cancer risk may be linked to the higher amounts of antioxidants found in green tea, as compared to that found in black tea. The difference is linked to the lower amount of oxidation that occurs with green tea leaves, as they are not exposed to oxygen for the same length of time as black tea leaves.
Food for Thought
Consuming a healthy, balanced diet is a good way to ensure that you are consuming a variety of nutrients in adequate quantities on a regular basis. If you would like advice about healthy eating, make an appointment to see our dietitian and nutritionist. Contact us today!
From cancer.net, cancer.org and cancercouncil.com.au