Despite the fact that it claims millions of lives every year, cancer is often preventable. Estimates from the World Health Organization indicate that between 30 and 50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable, and cancer prevention strategies are often rooted in taking simple, daily steps to safeguard overall health.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center notes that no cancer is 100 percent preventable. So even individuals who do everything possible to reduce their risk for cancer may still develop the disease. However, making the right lifestyle choices can reduce cancer risk by a significant percentage.
Food is one potential weapon in the fight against cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that numerous studies have found that many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Those minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals can be found in a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, including:
· Brussels sprouts
· Pulses, such as dry beans, peas and lentils (legumes)
· Whole grains
It’s worth noting that many of these foods also offer additional health benefits. For example, strawberries are a good source of potassium, which the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes has been proven to help lower blood pressure and potentially reduce risk of stroke.
It makes sense that if certain foods and beverages can help people reduce their risk for cancer, there’s also others they should avoid. The AICR says it’s best to limit consumption of certain foods and beverages. Though these items don’t necessarily need to be avoided entirely (unless a doctor advises doing so), moderation is essential with the following foods and beverages:
· Processed meats, such as sausage, ham, bacon, hot dogs, and salami
· Red meat, which includes pork
· Sugary beverages, including sports drinks and sodas
The AICR notes that plant-based diets have become popular in recent years, but warns individuals that it’s difficult to separate evidence from opinion in regard to these diets and their effects on cancer risk. Anyone considering a plant-based diet is urged to speak with their physician before making any changes.
A high percentage of cancer diagnoses are preventable. Certain foods and beverages can be great allies to individuals focused on reducing their cancer risk.