February is National Cancer Prevention Month and to highlight the importance of what you can do to prevent and fight cancer, guest blogger Liam Fisher from Cancer Research UK , the world’s leading charity dedicated to saving lives through research, has collaborated with me on a post on what healing foods you should include in your diet for preventing and fighting cancer.
In this modern and enlightened age, we all know of the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for prevention of disease. The mantra ‘you are what you eat’ has never rung truer and with so many people eating a diet filled with refined and heavily processed low nutrient foods, there’s a good question as to what future health problems they might be creating for themselves.
Cancer affects so many people in the world today and it has recently been discovered that around 10% of cancers may be linked to your diet. One fact that shows just how much diet can affect the health of our body is people who ate a diet rich in fiber had a 40% lower risk of developing bowel cancer than those who ate the least amount of fiber. If there ever was a clear indicator of the importance of a nutrient-dense diet for good health, this is it.
So, what should and what shouldn’t you eat if you want to give yourself the best chance of preventing cancer in the future? The first is to increase your intake of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Why? Well, it’s because phytochemicals, antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and magnesium, are found in these foods in great supply.
Colorful fruits and vegetables are renowned for being healthy for a reason and they are some of your best sources for large doses of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for vibrant health. Studies have shown that people who eat large amounts of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis have a lower risk of getting cancer.
Garlic, broccoli, onions, and tomatoes have all been singled out as very important foods when it comes to fighting cancer so try and get as many of these plant foods in your diet as you can. Other good foods to include in your diet are ginger, turmeric, and mushrooms which can boost the immune system, attack cancer cells and are full of antioxidants which help get rid of free radicals.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, and broccoli contain sulforaphane which has been shown to protect against cancer, reduce inflammation in the body, and fight any free radicals which are putting stress on your system. Fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are considered superfoods when it comes to their anti-cancer capabilities and they contain many nutrients which are great for maintaining a strong immune system.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are very important when it comes to keeping the body strong and healthy as you age and can even help fight depression, type-2 diabetes and joint pain. Some foods which contain omega-3 essential fatty acids are raw nuts, raw seeds, and wild fish.
Once you’ve upped your consumption of healing fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and omega-3 essential fatty acids, it’s time to concentrate on limiting unhealthy options such as alcohol, foods high in refined sugar, refined grains, and processed or junk food meals which are low in nutrition but high in calories. Eating these types of foods regularly can make you very unhealthy overall, which you want to avoid if you’re concerned about cancer or your wellbeing in general.
When it comes to processed foods the rule of thumb is to try to eat nothing that you haven’t prepared from scratch yourself and to make sure your intake of alkaline-rich plant foods is high. Sodas, prepared meals, convenience foods, and most foods found in cans, packets or boxes can contain preservatives, refined sugar, refined flour, additives, and chemicals in them. In short, an anti-cancer diet is remarkably similar to a healthy diet in general, stick to it and you give your body a great chance at preventing or fighting off cancer.
If you are already dealing with cancer, there are still many dietary changes you can make that will put your body in the best possible position to heal from it. Including the foods which are mentioned earlier in this article which are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber is of paramount importance to fight cancer cells. Stay away from any foods which are highly processed or artificial.
Eat an organic diet, free of preservatives and if your doctor recommends it take food based supplements to increase your intake of key nutrients. Refined sugar, which has been linked with the mutation and growth of cancer cells should be completely cut out as well as alcohol and smoking.
By following these guidelines along with adding in periodic detox cleanses , regular exercise, adequate sleep, pure water, and stress reduction, you should be able to give yourself the best chance of preventing or fighting cancer and living a healthy life for years to come.
What’s healing foods do you eat weekly to prevent and fight cancer? Please contribute to the conversation by leaving a comment below.
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Liam Fisher is a blogger with CRUK , providing information and support to those dealing with cancer or who knows somebody who is. He writes about health-related topics, from dietary tips to the future of modern medicine. For more information on preventing and dealing with cancer, especially breast cancer, visit Cancer Research UK.