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Cancer & Nutrition

cancer nutrition

Unfortunately, there is no one food that can prevent cancer or even treat cancer.  With diseases and chronic conditions, the risk of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats can be reduced.  

Here we spotlight some of the most common foods known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers, which can help prevent the onset of chronic conditions and support bodily processes.  Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Institute for Cancer Research for more information regarding antioxidant-packed foods and the research supporting these claims. 

Blueberries:

These little berries are packed with phytochemicals that may prevent DNA damage and support antioxidant activity in the blood. Compounds known as flavonoids in blueberries may be linked to lower inflammation overall! 

Brussels Sprouts: 

We know they’re not everyone’s favorite vegetable, but these little sprouts have lots of fiber and phytochemicals that can promote gut health and help cells communicate properly. 

Coffee:

Yes, you read that correctly! Now, we aren’t talking about syrup-loaded coffees.  Some studies have shown that drinking coffee may help with insulin sensitivity and estrogen regulation, which can play roles in cancer development if deemed unstable. 

Dry Beans, Peas, & Legumes:

These foods, also known as pulses, are good sources of fiber, resistant starch, and phenolic compounds that promote gut health. 

Whole Grains: 

Packed with fiber and resistant starch, whole grains help with blood sugar control.  While the research is new, this may help decrease risk for cancers. 

Winter Squash:

Squash are high in carotenoids, which have been shown through research to be associated with lower risks of cancer. 

Now, just as there are foods that support health, there are foods that can contribute to development of chronic diseases, inflammation, and cancer.  Enjoying these foods in moderation is part of a well-balanced lifestyle, but consuming them in excess may negatively impact your health. 

Alcohol:

Generally, the greater the alcohol consumption, the greater the risk for cancer development according to the American Institute of Cancer Research.  Moderation is considered one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. 

Processed Meats:

These foods contain a compounds known as nitrites, which are known to increase cancer risk. Red processed meats can include added cancer risk, which we’ll talk about below. 

Red Meat: 

The heme iron in red meats can increase the amount of free radicals and inflammation in the body, which may lead to cancer development.  

Sugary Beverages:

Drinking sugary beverages like sodas, tea, and energy drinks can lead to excess weight gain, which has been shown to increase cancer risk. 

References:
1.  https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/