What you eat drastically affects many aspects of your health, including your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Cancer growth can be heavily influenced by your diet, but it must be noted that many foods contain beneficial compounds that can help decrease the growth of cancer and a higher intake of certain food types are associated with a lower risk of the disease.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that may have potent anticancer properties.
Studies have found that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer and including broccoli with a few meals per week may come with some cancer-fighting benefits.
Several studies have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer. An analysis of the results from five studies concluded that eating carrots may reduce the risk of stomach cancer by up to 26%.
Try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or delicious side dish just a few times per week to increase your intake and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.
Beans are high in fibre, which some studies have found may help protect against colorectal cancer. One study followed 1,905 people with a history of colorectal tumours, and found that those who consumed more cooked, dried beans tended to have a decreased risk of tumour recurrence.
Berries are high in anthocyanins, plant pigments that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
In one human study, 25 people with colorectal cancer were treated with bilberry extract for seven days, which was found to reduce the growth of cancer cells by 7%.
Based on these findings, including a serving or two of berries in your diet each day may help inhibit the development of cancer.
Cinnamon is well-known for its health benefits, including its ability to reduce blood sugar and ease inflammation.
Including 1/2–1 teaspoon (2–4 grams) of cinnamon in your diet per day may be beneficial in cancer prevention, and may come with other benefits as well, such as reduced blood sugar and decreased inflammation.
Research has found that eating nuts may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer. One study looked at the diets of 19,386 people and found that eating a greater number of nuts was associated with a decreased risk of dying from cancer.
Another study followed 30,708 participants for up to 30 years and found that eating nuts regularly was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and endometrial cancers.
These results suggest that adding a serving of nuts to your diet each day may reduce your risk of developing cancer in the future.
7. OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is loaded with health benefits and several studies have found that a higher intake of olive oil may help protect against cancer.
A review made up of 19 studies showed that people who consumed the greatest amount of olive oil had a lower risk of developing breast cancer and cancer of the digestive system than those with the lowest intake.
Swapping out other oils in your diet for olive oil is a simple way to take advantage of its health benefits. You can drizzle it over salads and cooked vegetables, or try using it in your marinades for meat, fish, or poultry.
Turmeric is a spice well-known for its health-promoting properties. Curcumin, its active ingredient, is a chemical with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anticancer effects.
One study looked at the effects of curcumin on 44 patients with lesions in the colon that could have become cancerous. After 30 days, 4 grams of curcumin daily reduced the number of lesions present by 40%.
Curcumin has also been shown to be effective in slowing the growth of lung, breast, and prostate cancer cells in other test-tube studies.
9. Citrus Fruits
Eating citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges has been associated with a lower risk of cancer.
One large study found that participants who ate a higher number of citrus fruits had a lower risk of developing cancers of the digestive and upper respiratory tracts.
Another review of 14 studies showed that a high intake, or at least three servings per week, of citrus fruit reduced the risk of stomach cancer by 28%.
These findings suggest that including a few servings of citrus fruits in your diet each week may lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
High in fibre as well as heart-healthy fats, flaxseed can be a healthy addition to your diet. In one study, 32 women with breast cancer received either a flaxseed muffin daily or a placebo for over a month. At the end of the study, the flaxseed group had decreased levels of specific markers that measure tumour growth, as well as an increase in cancer cell death.
In another study, 161 men with prostate cancer were treated with flaxseed, which was found to reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells. Flaxseed is high in fibre, which is protective against colorectal cancer.
Lycopene is a compound found in tomatoes that is responsible for its vibrant red colour as well as its anti-cancer properties.
Several studies have found that an increased intake of lycopene and tomatoes could lead to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
One study of 47,365 people found that a greater intake of tomatoes was linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
The active component in garlic is allicin, a compound that has been shown to kill off cancer cells in multiple test-tube studies.
Several studies have found an association between garlic intake and a lower risk of certain types of cancer. One study of 543,220 participants found that those who ate lots of Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions, leeks, and shallots, had a lower risk of stomach cancer than those who rarely consumed them.
13. FATTY FISH
Research suggests that including a few servings of fish in your diet each week may reduce your risk of cancer.
One large study showed that a higher intake of fish was associated with a lower risk of digestive tract cancer. Another study that followed 478,040 adults found that eating more fish decreased the risk of developing colorectal cancer, while red and processed meats increased the risk.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and anchovies contain important nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer.