Primary Prevention – Diet
Diet and Health Recommendations
- Food Supply and eating – Choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses (legumes) and whole grains.
- Maintaining body weight – Avoid being underweight or overweight and limit weight gain during adulthood to less than 5 kg.
- Maintaining physical activity – If occupational activity is low or moderate, take an hour’s brisk walk or similar exercise daily.
- Vegetables and fruits – Take plenty of green leafy vegetables dark colored fresh fruits & vegetables daily. Wash thoroughly to drain away insecticides.
- Other plant food – Eat plenty of soya products, sprouted seeds, a variety of cereals (grains), pulses (legumes), roots, tubers and plantains. Prefer minimally processed artificially colored foods. Limit consumption of refined sugar.
- Alcoholic drinks – Alcohol consumption is not recommended. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks.
- Meat – If eaten at all, limit intake of red meat. It is preferable to choose fish, poultry or meat from non-domesticated animals in place of red meat.
- Total fats and oils – Limit consumption of fatty foods, particularly those of animal origin. Choose modest amounts of appropriate vegetable oils, MUFA (Mono unsaturated fatty acids ).
- Salt and salting – Limit consumption of salted foods and use of cooking and table salt. Use herbs and spices to season foods.
- Storage – Do not eat food which, as a result of prolonged storage at ambient temperatures, is liable to fungal contamination.
- Preservation – Use refrigeration and other appropriate methods to preserve perishable foods, rather than chemical preservatives.
- Additives and residues – When levels of additives, contaminants and other residues are properly regulated, their presence in food and drink is not known to be harmful. However, unregulated or improper use can be a health hazard.
- Preparation – Do not eat charred food. For meat and fish eaters, avoid burning of meat juices. Consume the following only occasionally: meat and fish grilled (broiled) in direct flame; charred and smoked meat.
- Dietary Supplements – For those who follow the recommendation presented here, dietary supplements are probably unnecessary, and possibly unhelpful for reducing cancer risk.
DIET AND CANCER
Some of the cancer deaths could also be attributed to improper diets. There is also evidence to show that sometimes genetics is a factor, cancer cannot be explained by heredity alone. One-third of cancer fatalities could be due to cigarette smoking. The risk of cancer is also increased by lack of physical activity. The introduction of healthy diet and exercise practices at any time from childhood to old age can reduce cancer risk.
Observe Healthy living habits, body and genital cleanliness. Avoid tobacco products, excessive use of alcohol, red meat, fats, preserved and artificially colored food items, excessive use of salt and sugar, we can avoid several diseases including Cancer.
Free radicals and antioxidants
Cancer is caused by exposure of the healthy body cells to carcinogens, which are often transformed into unstable molecules called free radicals, which ?oxidise? body cells. These are metabolic wastes or bye products of metabolism.
Free radicals can be neutralized by anti-oxidants, powerful combinations of nutrients and enzymes that help neutralise free radicals before they can attack healthy cells. Our body produces certain anti-oxidants but dietary replenishment of our body’s
anti- oxidant pool is needed because we are constantly exposed to pollutants and other harmful substances, which step up free radical damage. Studies suggest that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cancer.
Diet and chemicals
Even though it is widely accepted that fruits and vegetables increase body resistance, intake of these foods is low among many adults and children. Consuming anti-oxidants as a natural dietary supplement is the best and simplest way to meet the anti-oxidant requirements of our body. With the knowledge of what exists in food we can provide ourselves the basic insurance against diseases including Cancer by flushing out toxins, boosting immunity processes, fighting carcinogens (Cancer producing substances) and lowering cholesterol level. Several chemicals found in plant/plant products such as Phyto-chemicals act in a synergistic way to prevent diseases and provide overall health and protection from several diseases.
Vegetables and fruits have beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phyto-chemicals (carotenoids, flavonoids) etc. which are described below:
Beta carotene – It is an anti-oxidant, which traps free radials (singlet oxygen) having many damaging properties. Carotenoids are reported to provide protection to smokers by entrapping oxidants molecules present in cigarette smoke and tar. Sources are leafy, dark green vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, watermelon and apricot etc. Beta Carotenes can not work in isolation as an antioxidant, but when eaten in the form of fruits and vegetables which are known to have several other chemicals react in a synergistic way to provide antioxidant and/or anti-carcinogenic effect
Vitamin C – It is well known antioxidant. It provides protection from adverse effects of a number of harmful environmental agents. There are evidences that carcinogens depletes animals of ascorbic acid and then produce Cancer. Sources are Citrus fruits Lemon, Amla, Melon, Strawberries, Potato & Sweet Potato, Dark green & deep yellow vegetables, tomatoes etc.
Vitamin E – It increases endurance by reducing damage to tissues by oxygen radicals. It prevents the carcinogenic effect of N-nitrous compounds. Sources are Vegetable Oils (Corn, Soya, Cotton Seed, Sunflower), Hydrogenated fats, Germinated whole grains, Dark green leafy vegetables, Nuts, legumes and human milk.
Selenium – It has anti-carcinogenic property. Low selenium concentration in body is probable risk factor in human cancer. Sources are – Meat, Seafood, whole grain cereals/ bran, onions, garlic and mushrooms.
Glutathione – It is a major antioxidant substance present in food. It is reported to be very active against carcinogenic action of aflatoxin – a highly potent fungal toxin. Sources are Protein rich food specially sulphur containing amino-acids.
Lutein – Green leafy vegetables.
Sentinels – Certain plant essences can prevent or help regress breast cancer.
Indoles – Found in vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, they help balance the flow of estrogen in the body, help preventing breast Cancer.
Phyto-Estrogens – They are believed to reduce the estrogen levels, although how this happens is not yet known. They are mainly found in flax seed and soya. Chinese and Japanese women who regularly consume soya have dramatically lower incidence of the diseases.
Lycopene – Found in tomatoes, watermelon and red guava. It is another free radical scavenger useful in cancer prevention. Cooked tomatoes are better than raw ones. Tomatoes are also very useful in cardiac diseases.
Flavonoids and catechins – Found in green and black tea. Chinese women who drink green tea have increased body resistance for prevention of diseases.
Uric Acid – It is a strong antioxidant present in human blood in high concentration. Uric acid is also present in human saliva. A low uric acid level may be a risk factor for smokers catching lung cancer. Sources are Glandular organs like liver, pancreas and kidney, grains and legumes.
Phenolic Acid – It blocks the action of a number of Carcinogenic agents. Sources are- Garlic, Onion, Apple, Ground nuts, Grapes, Cashewnuts and Coffee.
With a serious endeavor we have to cut the risk of Cancer occurrence since the food we eat, water we drink and air we inhale all are mostly contaminated with substances which may lead to the production of Cancer. Besides these, genetic make up, stress, alcohol, pesticides & chemicals also play a major role in Cancer occurrence. About one third of all cancers are linked to diet. It is never too late to change your eating habits. It could help in reducing the risk significantly because development of full fledged Cancer takes a long time from the time a single cell suffers genetic changes, it could take considerably very long period, may be several years to develop malignant tumors. The good news is that what ever we eat may interfere with the developmental stages of Cancer and may help stifle its growth.
Here are some useful information about food products:
1. Soya Food – Soya bean is a pulse like moong. It is brimming with phyto-chemicals like isoflavones, phyticacid, saponins, coumarins and genistein etc. which have anti-carcinogenic, blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties. Our diet should comprise of at least 50g of Soya food everyday. Substances found in Soya food have been found to reduce the risk of breast, colon & prostate Cancer. They also lower the bad cholesterol levels presumably as effectively as cholesterol lowering drugs. Genistein which is present in Soya is a compound which is known to thwart cancer at almost every stage of its development.
2. Pulses – beans and legumes like black dal, rajma, chowli, beans, kabuli chana, green chana, peas etc are excellent low fat source of protein, iron, calcium, fibre and help cleanse the blood toxins, prevent constipation and improve bone strength. These when sprouted adds additional values to these nutrients. The phytochemicals existing in beans and peas include Indoles, phyticacid, phyto-steroids, lignans etc. all of which form a terrific stew full of health giving properties.
3. Unrefined whole grains – such as jowar, bajra, wheat, oat, brown rice etc. contain phyto-phenols and lignans that are antioxidant that can block Cancer, lower cholesterol and slow down the biological ageing process.
4. Cruciferous vegetables – like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, Brussels sprout, radish are rich in nutrients. They are rich in Indoles and flavonoids that neutralize free radicals and prevent Cancer.
5. Tomato – is rich in carotenoids, lycopene which provides its red pigment is potent plant chemical which has anti-cancerous property.
6. Carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberry, pine apple, mango, papaya, melons, black grapes are plant food brimming with phytochemicals which are full of health giving properties by removal of free radicals.
7. Citrus fruits – like orange, sweet lime, grape fruits and lemon etc. They are packed with Vitamin C, bio-flavonoids and limonine. These chemicals have the tendency to breakdown carcinogen and stimulate Cancer fighting genes.
8. Garlic and onion – The Allicin in garlic lowers the LDL, (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides and raises the blood HDL (good) cholesterol. It lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and has antibiotic properties. Allium compounds have also been found in onion, spring onion, leeks, chives and shallots.
9. Leafy greens – Like spinach, fenugreek, amaranth, lettuce, parsley, celery etc. are good source of Beta Carotene. Besides this some of them also provide calcium, iron, folic acid, Vitamin C and nutrients. Glutathione the active ingredient in spinach safeguards against Cancer.
10. Papaya / carrots – are full of Beta Carotene and Vitamin C. Papaya is rich in enzyme which helps in digestion.
11. Olive / rapeseed oil – Too much of any fat is bad but replacing saturated fat with unsaturated specially monosaturated (MUFA) is beneficial.
12. Mustard – Mustard sprouts are rich in calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin B Complex, vitamin C Selenium, Dietary Fibre, Omega – 3 fatty acids, Protein, Zinc and Folic acid. They are spicy in flavor, warming to the system and can stimulate circulation.
Note: Older roots will have a slight blue hue to them. This is not mould, just simply mustard.
Even pickers can be choosers
A sizeable body of research suggests that fruit may help reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer. The well-informed fruit-eater needs to know which fruits are packed with the most nutrients.
All fruits are good fruits but some fruits are better than others. Experts at the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) took the trouble of analysing and ranking fruits according to the amount of nutrients- calcium, fibre, foliate, iron, potassium, vitamin C-present in each.
The score for each fruit was arrived at by adding up the percent of the Daily Value (DV) for these six nutrients plus carotenoids. (not all carotenoids are nutrients. Some – like lycopene – may cut the risk of Cancer even though they’re not converted to vitamin A.) There is no DV for carotenoids, so an arbitrary figure of 5,000 micrograms was given.
For example, one orange has 7 per cent of DV for carotenoids (7 points), plus 137 per cent of the DV for vitamin C (137 points), 12 per cent for foliate (12 points), 8 per cent for potassium (8 points), 15 per cent for fibre (15 points), 1 per cent iron (1 point), and 6 per cent for calcium (6 points). That gives it a score of 186 points. The chart doesn’t show calcium or iron numbers because they’re generally low.
A couple of factors to keep in mind: These scores aren’t perfect. No one knows which nutrients matter the most, or whether something other than nutrients explains why fruit helps cut the risk of disease.
Secondly, the list is not comprehensive. There are hundreds of fruits out there that scientists have yet to discover. The fact they don’t figure here does not mean that they are any less nutritious – just that scientists have not got around to analysing them.
What this chart can tell you, in a limited fashion, is which fruits have which nutrients (and how many calories).
So check out your favorites… and then try some new ones too. If you limit yourself to top-seeded guava and watermelon, eating fruit will seem like a chore.
It should be a pleasure.