The Prevention of Cancer Through Diet

By Brian Cerdenola

Cancer prevention has become a hot topic with the rising rates of breast, lung, and prostate cancer in the United States. Research has shown that in many of these cases, the cancer could have been prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising.

One of the considerations of a healthy lifestyle is diet. Diets that are high in cholesterol, calories, and saturated or trans fats have been linked to higher cancer rates. Eating for cancer prevention encompasses not only limiting certain foods but also ensuring that you are getting the proper nutrition.

A healthy diet consists of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains), polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, and fiber. These foods are important in cancer prevention because they provide the body with essential nutrients to keep cells healthy and organs working correctly to remove any potentially unhealthy cells from the body. They ensure that the immune system is working at maximum capacity to fight bacteria and foreign toxins. Foods high in antioxidants have been shown to be especially effective in fighting and preventing cancer by reducing the effect that free radicals have on our bodies.

Foods that should be limited are meats (especially red meats), sodium, saturated and trans fats, and alcoholic beverages. All of these have been linked to an increased likelihood of developing cancer. It is also important to ensure that you are cooking and storing food properly. Fruits and vegetables should be washed to remove any pesticides or chemicals that may have been used in processing. Cooking foods with high heat methods like frying, smoking or grilling can create carcinogens (substances which cause cancer when ingested).

Many of these guidelines are similar to any nutritional advice that an expert would give. The important thing to remember is to make good decisions about what you eat, stay active, and take some additional precautions if you know you have a high risk of developing cancer.

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