Giving preference to a healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent the emergence of malignant tumors. For this, it is necessary to reinforce the consumption of powerful foods against cancer and avoid those that increase the risk of this disease.
According to INCA, inadequate nutrition is the second leading cause of preventable cancer, second only to smoking. It is estimated that 20% of malignant tumors and 35% of deaths from this disease originate from patients' eating habits.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared a list of the foods you should include on your plate to have a healthier diet and prevent cancer:
Dark green leafy vegetables have many benefits for our health, but spinach is the one that stands out the most in preventing cancer. This is because it is rich in substances such as folic acid and vitamin E.
Insufficient folic acid in the body is associated with a greater risk of the emergence of tumors, as it is essential for the functioning of enzymes that maintain the DNA of cells. So, when we take in enough folic acid, we help our body to fight the formation of defective cells that could become malignant over time.
Vitamin E, in turn, is an excellent antioxidant. In this way, it fights the action of free radicals, which cause DNA damage and can lead to cancer. Research shows that vitamin E is especially powerful against prostate cancer.
2. Dark-Colored Grapes
The skin of purple or dark red grapes is rich in resveratrol, a substance capable of fighting cancer through several mechanisms and potentiating the effect of chemotherapy in patients who are already undergoing treatment. Its mode of action includes the capabilities to increase the rate of death of defective cells, decrease the proliferation of malignant cells, regulate the life cycle of cells and control the functioning of antioxidant enzymes.
In addition to the fruit itself, it is possible to ingest resveratrol by consuming juice or wine made from dark-skinned grapes.
The nut is an oilseed very rich in selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals that bind to DNA, damage our genetic material, and can cause cancer.
Consuming a nuts, a day already supplies the necessary amounts of selenium. Consumption of more than two nuts daily is not recommended, as the mineral can accumulate in tissues in a harmful way.
When crushed, as in cooking, garlic cloves produce a chemical reaction that gives rise to a compound capable of reducing the growth and causing the death of defective cells, preventing the formation of a malignant tumor. In addition, garlic contains selenium, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6, which act as antioxidants and fight cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Garlic mainly stands out in decreasing the risks of cancer of the esophagus, stomach, intestine, breast, colon, and prostate.
Salmon and other fatty saltwater fish such as herring and sardines are famous for their high content of omega-3, a fatty acid with high antioxidant power that reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, omega-3 also prevents premature aging of cells, making them reproduce in a healthy way. In this way, the risk of the formation of defective cells, which could become malignant, is reduced, also reducing the emergence of cancer.
However, as with other foods on this list, salmon consumption should be moderate, as excess omega-3 in food or supplementation can favor the emergence or worsen of prostate cancer.
Like other yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables, guava is rich in carotenoids, substances that act in the prevention of skin, breast, and prostate cancer. This fruit stands out for being rich in lycopene, a powerful compound in the fight against damage caused by free radicals and which is not produced by the body.
In addition, guava is very rich in vitamin C, which also works against cancer and enhances chemotherapy. Although orange is the most famous fruit when it comes to vitamin C, guava provides five times more of this nutrient.
7. Tomato Sauce
Similar to guava, tomato is very rich in lycopene. The difference is that, in this case, it stays inside the cells and is released when this fruit is heated. Once inside our body, the absorption of lycopene is facilitated by the presence of fats.
In this way, tomato sauce is an excellent food to prevent cancer, as it is made with several units of this fruit, goes through the cooking process, and receives the addition of oils. However, to obtain these benefits, it is necessary to use organic tomatoes, completely free of pesticides – unfortunately, this fruit is among the most contaminated by pesticides.
The best way to take advantage of the anti-tumor properties is to make tomato sauce at home, adding olive oil and avoiding the use of preservatives and artificial coloring.
Foods That Increase the Risk of Cancer
As a rule, the foods that most increase the risk of developing a malignant tumor are processed foods. Artificial sweeteners, foods high in fats and sugars, red meats, sausages, and foods full of preservatives and dyes are the most dangerous.
You can consume a fry from time to time, for example, but always in moderation. Try to leave these options aside and give preference to powerful cancer-fighting foods, such as those presented above, among other fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
According to INCA, inadequate nutrition is the second leading cause of preventable cancer, second only to smoking.