Cancer prevention through nutrition

How important is the food we eat in helping prevent cancer?

To me, food choice is the most important health decision you make every day. Our dietary choices are incredibly important for preventing cancer and other chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. What you eat, at any time, directly impacts your health. There is a reason this quote from Hippocrates has been passed on for more than 2000 years: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

Is there a particular “superfood” that you think everyone should eat, that you believe helps to prevent cancer?

The most important “superfood” that everyone should be eating is a big serving of vegetables. Specifically, the cruciferous vegetables (such as bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) are some of the most powerful cancer fighting foods. Cruciferous vegetables also contain phytochemicals that help your body fight cancer and prevent carcinogens from reaching target sites within the cell. Researchers estimate that eating lots of cruciferous vegetables could lower your risk of breast and colon cancer by 40 percent.

Vegetables are also high in fiber and lower the chances of cancer. Fiber binds and moves potential carcinogens through the intestines faster, decreasing the contact time between carcinogens and the intestines. The less exposure to carcinogens, the less chance of colon cancer. A high fiber diet may also lower the risk of breast cancer by binding excess estrogen in the bowels, thereby lessening the estrogen effect in the cells of breast tissue.

Importantly, all of these vegetables decrease your appetite for fatty foods, which themselves also increase the risk of cancer.

Original article was written on 28 February 2014