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Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Some dietary precautions lower the risk of cancer. The following recommendations are based on the findings made by the American Cancer Society

1. Avoid obesity.

Obese people have been observed to be are at increased risk of certain cancers like cancers of the uterus, gallbladder, kidney, stomach, colon and breast. Obese women seem to be at greater risk.

2. Reduce total fat intake.

Studies imply that excessive fat intake increases the chance of developing cancers of the breast, colon and prostate. Excessive intake of both saturated and unsaturated fats, whether from plant or animal sources, has been found to enhance human cancer growth in some studies.

3. Eat more high fibre foods, such as whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables.

Fibre is abundant in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and consists largely of complex carbohydrates. We are still not sure of the role that fibrous foods play in cancer prevention, but fibrous foods have low fat and make a good nutritious replacement for fatty food.

4. Include foods rich in vitamins A and C in the daily diet.

  1. Dark green and deep yellow vegetables and certain fruits are rich in carotene, a form of vitamin A. It is possible that foods rich in carotene or Vitamin A may lower the risk of cancers of the larynx, oesophagus and lung. It is not advisable to take vitamin A in capsule or tablet form without a doctor’s prescription.
  2. Epidemiological studies indicate that people whose diets are rich in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) i.e., those consuming diets high in fruits and vegetables, are less likely to get cancer, particularly of the stomach and oesophagus. It is still uncertain whether it is Vitamin C itself or other constituents of the Vitamin C containing fruits and vegetables that exert the protective effect.
  3. Include green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and cauliflower in the diet. Some studies have suggested that consumption of these vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, particularly of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.
  4. Be moderate in consumption of alcoholic beverages. Heavy drinkers of alcohol, especially those, who are also cigarette smokers, are at unusually high risk for cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and oesophagus.

Conventionally smoked foods such as hams, some varieties of sausage, fish and so forth, absorb some of the tars that arise from incomplete combustion. These tars obtain numerous carcinogens that are similar chemically to the carcinogenic tars in tobacco smoke. There is limited inferential evidence that salt-cured or pickled foods may increase the risk of stomach and oesophageal cancer.

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