This January is a great time to discuss diet as we enter a brand new year! And with much research showing that diet has a strong influence on cancer risks, there’s no better time to look at what’s inside your pantry to help keep your body as healthy as possible. There’s also great news too: many foods contain beneficial nutrients, but certain foods are especially associated with lowering risk of cancer growth and disease. Here are five healthy foods that can help reduce your risk of developing health conditions that can lead to cancer.
Berries are excellent sources of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, and fiber. However, their high level of antioxidants such as resveratrol, ellagic acid, and anthocyanins make them exceptional at fighting free radicals that cause damage and reduce oxidative stress. By protecting the body from cell damage, berries can help lower the risk for cancers of the skin, lungs, bladder, esophagus, and breast.
Berries, in general, are high in antioxidants, but the berries that boast the most antioxidant activity are raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Goji berries, strawberries, acai berries, bilberries, and cranberries are also on our list of the healthiest berries.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains help you avoid obesity and becoming overweight, which are associated with an increased risk of cancer. This is thanks to whole grains being high in fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy. Whole grains also help lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions that increase your cancer risks. Some of the healthiest whole grains include barley, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, and oats.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, collard greens, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower are examples of cruciferous vegetables. They are rich in nutrients such as folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, beta carotene, and lutein. Because cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, they help lower your risk for cancer by inactivating carcinogens, protecting cells from DNA damage, and reducing inflammation. Studies have shown that regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables can lower the risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables also help lower your risk for cancer because they are a rich source of fiber. A fiber-rich diet helps reduce the risk of colon and gastric cancer by helping you maintain a healthy weight and keep your bowels healthy, making them less likely to develop tumors.
4. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, making them ideal for including in your cancer prevention diet. Chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, soybeans, and pinto beans are considered the healthiest beans and legumes.
Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their bright red color. However, that’s not all they do. When you consume tomatoes regularly, you enjoy the antioxidant benefits, which include protection from free radicals and cell damage. The regular intake of lycopene-rich tomatoes has been associated with slowing the growth or preventing the development of prostate, lung, and bone cancers.
While raw tomatoes provide many nutrients, the cooking process releases the full potential of lycopene. Therefore, tomato sauce and paste are considered some of the healthiest forms of tomato because they are the richest in lycopene.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about cancer-fighting tips.