World Cancer Day: What you need to eat to prevent cancer
Many recent studies have shown the important role our diet plays in everyday health, and in the prevention of cancer. On the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4, we have rounded up some of the key foods to include in your diet that could help ward off cancer, as well as promote general health and well-being.
A large study published last month which looked at over 90,000 women found that eating a high-fiber diet in early adulthood, which included plenty of fruit and vegetables, could lower the risk of breast cancer in later life by 12 to 19% compared to those who ate much less or no dietary fiber at all.
A 2015 American study also found that fiber can be beneficial, with the study’s results suggesting that prostate cancer patients can improve their chances of survival by following a Mediterranean-style diet full of fruit, vegetables and fiber.
And a 2015 Chinese study found that eating white vegetables such as potatoes, asparagus, chard, celery, cauliflower, endive and leek, was associated with a 33% reduction in the risk of developing stomach cancer. The same study also found that eating fruit helped to reduce the risk by 7%.
Enjoying a daily coffee could help as well, with numerous studies showing the health benefits of drinking your morning cup of joe. A 2015 study of 1000 colon cancer patients found that coffee lovers who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 42% less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and 34% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.
A 2015 Swedish study also found similar results, with breast cancer patients who drank between two and five cups of coffee per day half as likely to experience a return of the disease compared to those who drank no coffee or less than two cups.
Good fats found in foods such as oily fish could also be beneficial, with a review of 26 previous studies covering more than 800,000 participants finding that eating a portion of oily fish such as tuna, salmon, or sardines one to two times a week can reduce the risk of breast cancer. And a 2013 study involving 4,577 prostate cancer patients found that those who changed their diet to include more good fats — the type found in foods such as vegetables, nuts and olive oil — had a better survival rate than those whose diets remained unchanged.
And for what you should try to avoid, well sugar seems to play a part in many health problems, including cancer, with a study published only last month finding that high levels of sugar, typical in a modern Western diet, could be associated with increasing the risk and spread of breast cancer.