Preventing Cancer with Diet and Lifestyle Modifications
Cancer causes one in every five deaths in USA, one in every four deaths in UK and this pattern is now being seen in India too. However, some cancers can be cured and experts believe that correct nutrition may help to prevent many forms of the disease.
Lung and skin cancer are the most common. Digestive tract, breast and prostate cancer are also common. This disease can take 10-30 years to manifest itself. That is probably why cancer is more common in people above 30-40 years of age. Hodgkin’s disease, is a lymph cancer which can occur at any age and takes less time to manifest itself. It is common among young adults and elderly and could be caused by a virus which causes glandular fever.
How does cancer develop?
Every minute, 10 million cells in the body divide and usually the cells divide the right way and on schedule. When a carcinogenic substance comes into the cells then there is an abnormally large and rapid multiplication of cells without any order or pattern and then a tumor is formed or cancer develops.
- In the breasts or testes lumps may appear
- Function of the affected organ begins to deteriorate
- There may be pain of different intensities
- Loss of appetite
- Severe weight loss
Approximately 90% of all cancers are primarily related to environmental factors such as
- Alcohol intake
- Exposure to toxins in the environment such as asbestos, certain plastics, chemical pollutants and radiation.
- Some viruses and certain diseases such as hepatitis C can trigger cancer too.
Some people have a genetic tendency toward cancer. However, since cancers have such a great relation to diet and environmental factors they could be prevented.
How is Diet Related to Cancer?
Overall, diet is related to an estimated 35% of cancers.
Leading the list are diets -
- Low in vegetables and fruits
- Low in fiber
- High in fat
- Regular intake of smoked foods like ham, bacon, sausages, salami, etc.
- Regular intake of barbequed foods
- Regular intake of foods cured with salt or nitrite compounds i.e. preserved and canned foods
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Excessive levels of body fat
- Consumption of food infected with a mould- fungi called aflotoxins which grow on cereal grains, seeds and nuts
Guidelines to prevent Cancer
- Maintain a desirable body weight
- Cut down total fat intake
- Include five or more servings of vegetables and fruits in the daily diet
- Include high fiber foods such as whole grain cereal – whole wheat bread, atta rotis, broken wheat, unpolished rice, ragi, jowar roti, oats, cornflakes, etc. Pulses- channa, rajma, moong,etc. Fruits – Apple, pear, oranges, musambi, guava and pomegranate. Vegetables – greens, beans, pea, carrots, radish, ladies finger, kovai, drumstick, tomato, etc.
- Limit the consumption of cured, smoked, barbecued and preserved food
- Avoid alcohol. (If you must drink then 30ml -60ml once a week or a glass of beer or a glass of wine once a week).
Smoking must completely stop. Finally, all people must try to consume at least 2 to 3 liters water which helps to flush out toxic substances which enter your body.
And last but not the least all must try to walk 25-30 minute daily to stay fit and fight away excess fat deposits in the body.