By Sola Ogundipe
No single food can reduce risk of cancer, but the right combination of foods could make all the difference. Look at your plate. Study your diet. The content of your plate at meal times is an important cancer fighting tool. At meal times, strike a balance of at least two-thirds plant-based foods and no more than one-third animal protein. Check out better and worse choices for your plate below.
Add colour to your plate
Literally add colour to your plate at meal times. Fruits and vegetables are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients – red, yellow, green, purple, orange —the more the colour, the more nutrients they contain. These foods can help reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Carrying extra kilos increases the risk for multiple cancers, including colon, esophagus, and kidney cancers.
Folate is an important B vitamin that may help protect against cancers of the colon, rectum, and breast. The best way to get folate is not from a pill, but by eating enough fruits, vegetables, and enriched grain products. So are orange juice, melons, and strawberries, asparagus, eggs, chicken liver, beans, sunflower seeds, and leafy green vegetables like spinach or romaine lettuce.
Minimise processed meat
Cutting back on processed meats like bologna, ham, and hot dogs helps lower risk of colorectal and stomach cancers. Eating meats preserved by smoking or with salt raises exposure to agents that can potentially cause cancer.
Whether it’s the lycopene—the pigment that gives tomatoes their red colour —or something else isn’t clear, but eating raw tomatoes or processed tomato products such as juice, sauce, or paste increase the cancer-fighting potential.
Tea Tea, especially green tea, is be a strong cancer fighter. In laboratory studies, green tea has slowed or prevented the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. It also had a similar effect in lung tissue and skin. Tea is associated with lower risks for bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancers.
Grapes and grape juice, especially purple and red grapes, contain resveratrol—which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents the kind of damage that can trigger the cancer process in cells.
Cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast are all linked with drinking alcohol. Alcohol may also raise the risk for cancer of the colon and rectum.
Water not only quenches thirst, but it protects against bladder cancer. The lower risk comes from water diluting concentrations of potential cancer-causing agents in the bladder. Drinking more fluids causes urination more frequently. That lessens the amount of time cazncerous agents stay in contact with the bladder lining.
Beans are so good. They contain several potent phytochemicals that slow tumour growth and prevented tumors from releasing substances that damage nearby cells.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale, have components that help the body defend against colon, breast, lung, and cervix cancers.
Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens, lettuce, kale, chicory, spinach, and chard have an abundance of fibre, folate, and carotenoids which help protect against cancer of the mouth, larynx, pancreas, lung, skin, and stomach.
Curcumin is the main ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric and a potential cancer fighter. It can suppress the transformation, proliferation, and invasion of cancerous cells for a wide array of cancers.
Cooking methods matter
How you cook meat can make a difference in how big a cancer risk it poses. Frying, grilling, and broiling meats at very high temperatures causes chemicals to form that may increase cancer risk. Other cooking methods such as stewing, braising, or steaming appear to produce fewer of those chemicals.
Pass on the sugar
Sugar may not cause cancer directly. But it may displace other nutrient-rich foods that help protect against cancer. And it increases calorie counts, which contributes to overweight and obesity.
Don’t rely on supplements
Getting cancer-fighting nutrients from foods like nuts, fruits, and green leafy vegetables is vastly superior to getting them from supplements. Eating a healthy diet is best.