While many people are concerned about having a family history of cancer, statistics show that only about 2-3% of diagnoses are attributed to a faulty gene inherited from a parent. In fact, the remainder of cancer cases are due to environmental factors and replication errors.
Environmental factors include the exposure to substances that damage the DNA, such as tobacco smoke. For example, cigarettes contain carcinogenic substances which cause the cells in your lungs to act abnormally.
Replication errors however appear to be a much bigger role; scientists believe this is the number one cause of cancer. To reproduce, cells divide, and every time they divide, little mistakes occur during copying, known as a replication error. Even though the body has systems in place to naturally correct those errors, sometimes they can lead to serious problems with the cell. Carcinogenesis, when a healthy cell becomes a cancerous cell, is one potential outcome. You can learn more about this in the video below.
That being said, based on a study done at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centre, researchers looked for mutations that are suggestive of particular environmental exposures and found that these percentages vary from cancer to cancer. For example, in some lung tumors, environmental factors accounted for 65% whereas replication errors comprised of 35%. In cancers such as prostate the replication error was a whopping 95%.
So while some cancers are largely up to chance, there are others that are far more in our control.
Can You Counteract Replication Errors?
Unfortunately, primary prevention is not possible for cancers that are caused by random replication errors. The next best hope is simple early detection and intervention as soon as possible.
However, this shouldn’t undermine the important of prevention in the first place, in particular for types of cancer that are largely impacted by environmental factors. There are many things we can do to help prevent cancer, such as staying away from toxins such as cigarettes, and harmful ingredients found in personal care products or processed food. In addition, we can give our immune system the best fighting chance and nourish it with nutrient dense, whole foods with anti-cancer properties.
Best Daily Diet Plan For Anticancer Food and Nutrients
One of the best things you can do to protect your body from cancer cell growth is by incorporating a healthy diet plan into your daily routine. This includes anticancer nutrients in your diet that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. On the flip side, there are a number of unhealthy foods to steer clear of:
Cancer-Linked Foods: Don’t Eat!
- foods high in bad fats i.e. trans fat
- foods high in sugar
- foods low in fiber
- energy drinks
- limit consumption of processed meat
- limit consumption of salt
10 Anticancer Rich Nutrients and Whole Foods to Incorporate in Your Daily Diet:
Antioxidants help prevent or stop cell damage, however it is important to note that isolated antioxidants do not have the same effect as eating lots of whole fruits and vegetables. A 2004 study suggested that the combination of phytochemicals, and not just single antioxidants, are what makes fresh fruit and veggies such great anti-cancer foods (so if you have the choice between a supplement and a whole food, pick the latter!).
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Garlic is rich in antioxidants and is known to have anticancer properties due to organosulfur. Studies have proven that its compounds act as an anticancer agent that fights off certain cancer cells.
You can add whole garlic to almost any of your meals, or even add garlic powder, not only does it act as an anticancer nutrient, but it also adds flavor to your food, so basically a win-win! Check out this article that incorporates garlic in their recipe and this article that explains more about the benefits of garlic!
2. Fiber (4):
Fiber is an anti-inflammatory which can help prevent colon and breast cancer. According to a recent study, high intake of fiber was associated with decreased risk of breast cancer.
Some high fiber foods include whole grain pasta, brown rice, lentils, pears, oatmeal, raspberries, peas, broccoli, almonds, barley, and brussel sprouts. Check out this article for recipes full of fiber and antioxidants.
3. Flaxseeds (5):
Flaxseeds contain fiber, a form of healthy omega 3 fatty acid, and antioxidants – a triple threat! One study showed that adding 25 grams of flaxseed to a muffin reduced tumor growth in people with breast cancer over a span of 38 days. Check out this recipe for gluten-free flaxseed bread.
4. Fruits (7):
It’s common knowledge that fresh fruits are not only tasty but good for your health. The following are some of the best cancer-fighting fruits: raspberries, apples, pears, strawberries, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, mango, apricots, citrus fruits, prunes, raisins. Aside from snacking on these fruits whole, many make great additions to a smoothie.
5. Olive Oil(7):
It’s important to stay away from the bad fat and incorporate the good ones instead. Good fats- or unsaturated fats, act as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps support the brain and heart health. Use olive oil when cooking as opposed to vegetable oil.
6. Turmeric (8):
Turmeric has been used for over centuries to help improve health. Turmeric is best known for acting as an all-natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The compounds found in turmeric help fight against certain cancers and inflammation. Curcumin, specifically, has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Check out this article that includes turmeric in their recipes.
7. Ginger (10):
Ginger is a great form of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, helping subside pain and inflammation. One study demonstrated patients who took ginger supplements 3 days prior to their chemotherapy session saw an increase in their level of antioxidants and a decrease in their level of oxidants. Check out this article to read more about the effects of ginger and this article for a triple threat recipe that uses garlic, ginger, and turmeric!
8. Tomatoes (12):
Studies have shown how eating tomatoes can decrease the risk of prostate cancer. A tomato’s compounds include a form of antioxidants, which help guard the DNA in your cells from damage that can lead to cancer.
9. Black Pepper (13):
Black pepper is rich in antioxidants and may be helpful in controlling the progression of tumor growth. Black pepper can be seen as an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, and antidepressant. Follow these recipes to add a little black pepper to your daily diet. (Tip: Use black pepper in combination with turmeric for maximum absorption).
Pinto and red kidney beans are rich in antioxidants and are a great form of fiber and protein. Check out this bean-tastic article on vegetarian chili recipes.
Please consult a physician before beginning any treatment program or making any adjustment to your health care, diet, and/or lifestyle. Do not remove yourself from any prescribed medications or treatments without consulting your doctor. Any and all dietary supplements or nutritional products and treatments discussed on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. The information contained in this site is for general information and for educational purposes only. Nothing contained in this site is or shall be or considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should always seek the advice of a physician with any questions regarding their health or medical condition. Never disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical advice or following the advice of a physician because of something you have seen or read on this site.
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