The Role of Nutrition in Cancer PreventionCatherine Zabilowicz - Nutritionist
It is estimated that one third of the most common cancers could be prevented if people ate a healthy diet, kept physically active and maintained a healthy body weight. Therefore diet and lifestyle are at the forefront of cancer prevention. We are all constantly producing mutated cells and whether these continue on to become tumours is almost certainly down to the biochemistry of our body and our immune system; diet, exercise and body weight all have a bearing on this. By eating a healthy diet, by improving our levels of oxygen and by being active we can create an environment in our body where potentially cancerous cells fail to thrive.
Cancer prevention diet tips - Mediterranean diet
There is a general consensus that those who eat a predominately plant-based diet are healthier. The Mediterranean diet which includes plenty of oily fish, seafood, olives and olive oil, colourful vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds is a good example of this as it includes an array of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and all important anti-cancer plant chemicals. In my eyes the most important aspect of eating for health is to eat ‘real food’ and avoid anything manufactured and processed. This reduces our intake of unhealthy trans-fats, additives and other chemicals. Equally consuming a ‘clean diet’ of foods that are either organic or of high provenance, such as grass-fed meat and dairy will reduce our exposure to pesticides, excess hormones and antibiotics, all of which cause extra stress on the liver and immune system and potentially lead to damaged DNA.
Cancer prevention diet tips – Avoid Sugar
The impact of sugar on our health has now gained mainstream media attention and when it comes to increasing our risk of cancer, sugar is up there as a definite bad guy. When we eat sugary, starchy, refined carbohydrates they are broken down to glucose and this will have an immediate effect, raising our blood sugar levels significantly. This excess glucose needs to be removed from the bloodstream quickly as too much is toxic to the body; therefore a large amount of insulin needs to be released to take the glucose either to our cells for energy, to the liver for storage or to our fat cells. The problem is that many cancer cells have an increased need for glucose in order to provide them with the extra energy required to fuel rapid proliferation. Added to this insulin stimulates the release of a growth factor which also has a stimulatory effect on cancer cells. It therefore seems logical that by curbing our intake of refined carbohydrates we may well help to curb cancer growth.
Cancer prevention diet tips – Eat fruit, vegetables and whole meal cereals
A diet high in vegetables, fruit and certain whole grains provides plenty of fibre and this has significant positive effects on our health. Fibre in the gut helps to bind to and eliminate excess hormones and toxins from the body. It also feeds our gut microbiota which have been the subject of numerous studies in recent years. It is becoming increasingly evident that the balance of our gut microbiota is vitally important to our overall health. So eating a colourful variety of fibre rich, nutrient dense, natural foods and avoiding additive laden manufactured products appears to be a no brainer when it comes to helping to ward off cancer.
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For more information on how to reduce your risk of cancer or to help your body after a cancer diagnosis go to www.bodysoulnutrition.co.uk