Foods you eat have a big impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Did you ever wonder why your doctor recommends healthy diet or tweaking eating habits whenever you have an appointment? They don’t do it because it’s something they just “have to say”, it’s something that is extremely important for your health. Everything you take into your body can help you preserve or improve your health, or it will deteriorate it if you are addicted to junk food. The power of healthy diet goes beyond improvement of immune system; it can also help you fight cancer. How? What foods can aid in fighting cancer? Answers to these questions are below.
Cancer and nutrition
Back in time, people didn’t have medications or painkillers to alleviate the pain. Also, there were no doctors to conduct necessary tests, make a diagnosis, and propose adequate treatment. To stay healthy, they relied on healthy foods. To these people, the food was more than a fuel for the body to increase energy levels and banish the hunger, it was also a medicine. Numerous studies have confirmed the link between diet and cancer and scientists are still working on other studies to inspect this relationship thoroughly and create new ways of treating cancer.
For example, Maryam Farvid a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study which discovered that healthy diet high in fiber can prevent breast cancer. Findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, were based on long-term study which included 44,000 women who were surveyed about their eating habits in high school.
Participants of the study also had to complete questionnaires about their eating habits every 4 years. Results of the research showed that women who consumed high levels of fiber had 24% lower risk of developing breast cancer before menopause. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer in women who ate high levels of fiber decreased by 16%.
This study is just one of many examples which show that diet can play a massive role in preventing and fighting cancer.
Diet rich in fiber
High fiber diet, which was mentioned in the study included above, is one of the healthiest diets you can eat. It benefits your health in many ways. For example:
- Has cancer-prevention properties
- Regulates healthy weight
- Helps you lose weight
- Improves digestion
- Controls blood sugar levels
- Improves heart health
- Lowers risk of getting stroke
- Lowers risk of hemorrhoids
- Provides relief from IBS etc.
Age 50 or younger – Men 38 grams, women 25 grams
Age 51 or older – Men 30 grams, women 21 grams.
High fiber foods
Now that you know how healthy this diet is and how much fiber you need during the day, let’s see what foods are rich in fiber and therefore, perfect for you, particularly if you want to improve your health or fighting cancer:
Pears – contain phloretin component which inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in lung and colon cancer, melanoma, leukemia. Phloretin also increases anti-cancer effects of chemotherapy drug Taxol thus contributing to cancer treatment.
Strawberries – study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry revealed that quercetin from strawberries (and other types of fruits) causes apoptosis of cancer cells. Plus, they are rich in antioxidants that attack free radicals and protect your body from oxidative damage (which could also contribute to cancer).
Avocado – is rich in fiber as well as in healthy fats, and a wide array of vitamins and minerals all of which are needed to improve your overall health and wellbeing
Apples – contain variety of phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties. Apple a day keeps doctor away isn’t just a random saying.
Other foods rich in fiber that can help you improve your health and aid in fight vs. cancer include:
- Lentils, beans, dried figs (even healthier than fresh figs), raspberries and other berries, dates, sweet potato, almonds, chia seeds
- Dark chocolate, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli, artichoke, whole grains quinoa etc.
Guidelines to eating diet high in fiber
- Start your day with high-fiber breakfast cereal
- Include more beans and legumes into your diet while cutting back on refined, processed, greasy and sugary foods
- Fruits and vegetables should be about half of your meal
- When in mood for a snack, opt for fruits instead of chips
The most important thing when fighting cancer is to listen to doctor’s orders and suggestions. Remember, as your body is weak during this time, it needs healthy diet to become healthier and stronger. In fact, healthy diet is important aspect of any disease treatment, including cancer. Diet rich in fiber is also abundant in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that provide immunity-boosting, cancer-fighting properties while stabilizing bowel movements and helping you manage healthy weight.