Cancer is a collection of diseases and is characterized by abnormal cell growth that can destroy the normal body organs and tissues. Cancer can be categorized by types of body tissues where it starts like colon, breast or skin.
It normally starts with single cell which starts abnormal division and does not perform proper function. This modified body cell multiplies at abnormal fast rate and starts using body’s resources i.e. nutrients to grow. As a result, these abnormal cells disrupt and destroy the normal tissues function. The cancerous cells eventually can grow in size or spread in the main bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
There are variety of causes of cancer and are not always 100% clear. Some forms of cancer are genetic and pass from generation to generation. However, most cancer result due to lifestyle and environment. The factors which promote cancer are known as carcinogens. These include virus, chemicals, lifestyle and environment factors.
How to reduce the risks of cancer?
Some risk factors of cancer can be controlled and it is recommended to prevent the cancer from the beginning. The risk factors which can be controlled include; use of tobacco, body weight, physical activity, dietary intake, exposure to ultraviolet radiation and exposure to carcinogens.
According to data received from the American Cancer Society, one third of cancer deaths occur due to nutrition, physical inactivity, obesity and other lifestyle factors.
There are few steps which can significantly reduce the risks of cancer. But we should keep in mind that no single food or nutrient prevents or causes cancer.
Maintain healthy weight in your life:
Obesity causes cancer of breast, uterus and prostate. Therefore we should maintain healthy weight throughout our life. We should avoid food with high calories than the body usage and we should do physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day.
Adopt active lifestyle:
We should live active lifestyle by doing physical activity which affects the hormonal balance in our body and stimulates our colon to get rid of waste materials. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of colon, prostate and breast cancers.
Use Plant based Foods:
We should use vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain. The food which is rich in fiber contains complex mixture of cancer fighting nutrients.
Use fruits and vegetables:
The fruits and vegetables contain complex structure of minerals, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. These protect us from various type of cancers from esophagus to rectum. These are also low in fat. These foods also protect us from bladder, lung, pancreatic and intestinal cancers.
Stop excessive use of alcoholic beverages:
Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages causes more risk of liver, mouth, throat, pharynx and esophagus cancers. According to studies, even with moderate drinking, there is increased risk of breast cancer. Alcohol may also increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Limit the use of fat and salt:
As we know high saturated fats lead to heart related diseases. Yet this eating approach also increases risk of different cancers like colon, rectum and prostate.
Similarly, salts may increase the risk of stomach cancer among those people who eat lot of salt-preserved food.
Don’t eat overcooked food:
The foods cooked on high temperature like grilling, roasting and frying may form heterocyclic amines (HCAs). When fat from these foods drips on fire, the smoke produced contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Both these substances are highly carcinogens. However, occasional high-heat cooking and eating cause no concern.
Make your life smoking free:
Smoking and chewing tobacco are linked with most cancer deaths in USA. Many die of lung cancer linked to cigarette smoking each year. Smoking also lowers the blood levels of some vital nutrients. In fact, smoking increases risk of other type of cancers like oral, throat, stomach, liver and prostate cancers. By quitting smoking, this risk can be reduced gradually.
Reference: Complete food and nutrition guide by Roberta Larson