A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of cancer in many ways. Research shows that many cancers are linked to lifestyle behaviors, including unhealthy eating patterns and a lack of physical activity. Perhaps, a healthy lifestyle can also help positively support treatment and recovery even if you are diagnosed with the disease.
Foods to eat to prevent or fight cancer
- Foods rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by free radicals known as “unstable molecules”. Some of the examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E and A, etc.
- Foods rich in Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in nuts, oil seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, fish such as salmon, tuna and herring , etc. They play an essential role in cell signaling and in the cellular structure and fluidity of membranes. They participate in the resolution of inflammation and have anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.
- Garlic: Some clinical studies have found that regular consumption of garlic in our diet helps with DNA repair, slows the growth of cancer cells, and reduces inflammation as garlic is rich in allicin, which are soluble allyl sulfur compounds that it is responsible for many anticancer properties. Several functional foods have shown anticancer activity by eliminating free radicals – such as garlic, broccoli, green tea, soy, tomato, carrot, cabbage, onion, cauliflower, beetroot, cranberries, cocoa, blackberry, blueberry, red grapes, plums and citrus fruits .
- Bitter Melon: Bitter melon is a widely consumed vegetable around the world that includes several bioactive components such as polyphenols, flavonoids and saponins and has been reported to possess anticancer potential.
- Wheat Bran: Wheat bran is abundant in a variety of healthful phytochemicals such as phenols, flavonoids, glucans and pigments and has been observed to exhibit significant anticancer activity.
Here are some things to keep in mind
- Avoid raw, undercooked meat.
- Avoid raw fish and shellfish.
- Avoid raw, undercooked eggs.
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and eggnog), as well as unpasteurized honey, juice, and cider.
- Avoid fresh, packaged foods that are past their use-by and use-by dates.
- Avoid leftovers older than 48 hours. It is important to follow proper guidelines for storing and reheating food if you plan to prepare food in advance or save on leftovers.
- Limit your intake of saturated and trans-fat foods such as baked goods, cakes, pastries, packaged foods, fried foods, red meat, ghee, butter, dalda, and margarine.
- Also limit your intake of egg yolk and shellfish which are high in cholesterol.
- Limit your oil intake to ½ kg per person per month. Prefer to use weekly rotating oil blends as the PUFA, MUFA and SAFA content varies in each oil.
- Limit your intake of foods such as pickles, papad, canned and preserved vegetables and fruits, dried fish, namkeen, ready-made chutneys, ketchup, ready-to-eat and cook items.
- Reduce fizzy drinks and foods that contain added sugars (corn syrups, sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltrose, dextrose, concentrated fruit juices, honey).
In addition to dieting, it is important for cancer patients to maintain a healthy weight, increase physical activity, make healthy food choices, and be happy in mind and body.