Food for The Prevention of Cancer; Researchers Suggest

Food for The Prevention of Cancer; Researchers Suggest

A substantial number of American adults hold fatalistic beliefs about cancer and are correspondingly less likely to take basic steps to lower their cancer risk, such as exercising, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.


To date the greatest success in this field has come from the use of drugs with shown effect in advanced malignancy. But increasingly research is focused on diet-derived agents that have the potential for efficacy with minimal risk of toxicity.

The chemical signaling system is one of the major ways that the body defends itself by protective chemicals in broccoli, cabbage, and other foods against toxic assaults and threats like cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust, and dangerous microbes. A gene known as KEAP1 senses danger and then unleashes NRF2, which Guide Pyramid. As a general rule, dietary supplements should never replace whole foods and are best when used in moderate doses

Eat 600-800 grams (20-30 ounces) or more than seven portions (servings) a day of a variety of cereals (grains), pulses (legumes), roots, tubers and plantains. Prefer minimally processed foods. Limit consumption or refined sugar. Limit consumption of salted foods and use of cooking and table salt. Use herbs and spices to season foods.

Cocoa teems with antioxidants that prevent cancer, Cornell University food scientists say. Comparing the chemical anti-cancer activity in beverages known to contain antioxidants, they have found that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that sulforaphane – a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and brussels sprouts – has strong anti-cancer properties.

Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy. In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low-energy-dense, low calorie foods and probably protect against weight gain.

Food and Colon/ Colorectal cancer:

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR); those patients who reported eating a typical "Western pattern"/ American diet - high in meat, fat, sugar and refined grains - were three times more likely to experience cancer recurrence or death than patients who ate the least of those foods.

AICR recommends that colon cancer survivors follow the dietary advice known to reduce risk for colon cancer and cancer in general: aim for a diet high a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans and low in meat and dairy foods.

Researchers believe changes in dietary fatty acids from the higher monounsaturated fat intake with a Mediterranean diet will decrease the levels of certain proteins in the body that are linked to the development of colon cancer. At the same time, other cancer-protective compounds are expected to increase because of the Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean diet may will also be expected to eat seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables, including herbs, and get protein primarily from low-fat sources such as poultry, fish and legumes.

According to American Journal of Preventive Medicine "raising the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 34 ng/ml would reduce the incidence rates of colorectal cancer by half. "This would be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and 10 to 15 minutes per day in the sun."

A diet that contained more CLA plus docosahexaenoic acid contains in omega-3 fatty acid known to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also promotes neural and retinal development in infants. For optimum health, we need to include more omega-3 fatty acids (common in fish and canola oil) and fewer omega-6 fatty acids (common in corn, soy and safflower oil). This study was done by Bruce Watkins, a Purdue University professor of food science.

Some studies suggest that increased intakes of dietary (low fat dairy sources), Black raspberries and supplemental calcium are associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer.

Food and Breast cancer:

According to AICR, new mothers can directly lower their own risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer by breastfeeding. And children who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight or obese, which in turn lowers their risk of several common cancers that have now been convincingly linked to excess body fat.

The most likely reason lactation lowers risk has to do with hormonal changes associated with breastfeeding, which delay the return of a new mother's menstrual cycle. Women who experience fewer menstrual cycles over their lifetime tend to have lower risk for breast cancer.

Dr Pamela Magee, from the School of Biomedical Sciences, has been investigating the effects of a group of dietary compounds, found almost exclusively in soy foods, in the prevention of cancer spread. These novel findings seem to indicate that eating a soy rich products such as soy milk, soy drinks and desserts, could have an important role in preventing the spread of cancer cells in the body.

According to Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) found that individuals with the highest blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had the lowest risk of breast cancer. "The serum level associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily plus, when the weather permits, spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun."

Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommended recently that new mothers can directly lower their own risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer by breastfeeding. And children who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight or obese, which in turn lowers their risk of several common cancers that have now been convincingly linked to excess body fat.

Food and esophageal cancer:

Full of raw vegetables --particularly broccoli sprouts -- and black raspberries can prevent or slow the growth of some common forms of cancer.

Black raspberries modulate markers of oxidative stress in patients with Barrett's esophagus Black raspberries may protect against esophageal cancer by reducing oxidative stress in patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE), a pre-cancerous condition that usually arises due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, report researchers at The Ohio State University.

Our local farmer's market might hold the key to cancer prevention, since new research shows that black raspberries, broccoli sprouts and some raw vegetables reduce the risk of esophageal and bladder cancers.

Data from three studies on the subject was presented recently at the American Association for Cancer Research's Sixth Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, in Philadelphia.

Fruits and vegetables have long been known to help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Based on prior research, the American Cancer Society recommends eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

In the first study, Ohio State University researchers found black raspberries may protect against esophageal cancer by reducing the oxidative stress that result from Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition usually caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease. People with Barrett's esophagus typically are 30 to 40 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer, which has a poor five-year survival rate of 15 percent.

Food and Urinary bladder cancer:

Protective effect of the freeze-dried aqueous extract of broccoli sprouts was associated with a significant increase in the bladder of several enzymes that are known to protect against oxidants and carcinogens.

"Cooking can reduce 60 to 90 percent of isothiocyanates (ITCs) -- a well-known class of cancer prevention agents," says Li Tang, M.D., Ph.D. of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and lead researcher on this study. "Heating destroys the enzyme that converts the precursor glucosinolates into ITCs, and also destroys ITCs already formed, which is why you need to eat raw cruciferous vegetables to receive the food's maximum benefit."

In other research presented recently at the meeting, broccoli sprouts and cruciferous vegetables both showed promise in the fight against bladder cancer, according to two separate teams from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

Using a rat model, a team lead by Dr. Yuesheng Zhang, a professor of oncology, demonstrated that a broccoli sprout extract reduced bladder cancer in rats by 70 percent. Analysis of the data showed that the more raw, cruciferous vegetables people ate, the lower their risk of bladder cancer.

"In our study, we do find intake of raw cruciferous vegetables showed risk reduction of bladder cancer in smokers, and even the heavier smokers," said lead researcher of that study.

The researchers stressed that the benefits are derived from raw cruciferous vegetables, giving cole slaw the edge over cabbage soup when it comes to cancer prevention.

"This confirms that there are a variety of compounds within fruits and vegetables that contribute to reducing the risk of cancer”; said Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society.

"Cooking leaches out some nutrients but makes others more absorbable. Until we know more in this regard, the bottom-line message for consumers is eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, raw and/or lightly cooked. Focus on those with the most color, since, in general, fruit and vegetables with the most color have the most cancer-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals;" Doyle said.

Food and Prostate cancer:

Our bodies need selenium, a nonmetallic trace element that we get from food—especially plant foods like rice and wheat, seafood, meat, and Brazil nuts. Vitamin E contains in a wide range of foods, especially vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, and egg yolks. Selenium and vitamin E both are an antioxidant that might help control cell damage that can lead to cancer.

According to The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial study shown that men who had taken selenium for 6½ years had approximately 60 percent fewer new cases of prostate cancer than men who took the placebo. In 2002, study data showed that men who took selenium for more than 7½ years had about 52 percent fewer new cases of prostate cancer than men who took the placebo

There is strong evidence that dietary fat significantly impacts disease development and promising data that other compounds, such as soy, selenium and green tea, offer additional possibilities for disease prevention; according to researcher at University of Toronto.

In one study of selenium, the incidence of prostate cancer was reduced by 49 percent over ten years. Other nutritional approaches, such as green tea, show conflicting results for prevention. Meanwhile studies of some approaches, like soy and vitamin D,E are ongoing.

“I would say if you’re at all worried about cancer or at high risk of cancer, especially of prostate or colon cancer, then increasing your dietary intake of broccoli and other vegetables could be a good idea,” researchers suggested.

Food and Pancreatic cancer:

When problems occur, usual food choices and eating patterns may need to be adjusted. Eating small, frequent meals or snacks may be easier to tolerate than three large daily meals. Food choices should be easy to chew, swallow, digest, and absorb.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, UCSF researchers have found that eating lots of fruits and vegetables -- particularly vegetables -- is associated with about a 50 percent reduction in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

The vegetables most strongly associated with increased protection were onions, garlic, beans, yellow vegetables (such as carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, corn and yellow squash), dark leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. Light-green vegetables, tomatoes and tomato products showed weaker protective benefits.

Fruits were found to be protective but significantly less so than vegetables, with citrus fruits and citrus juices most protective.

Food and Lung cancer:

In a 1998 study of 29,133 male smokers in Finland, men who took vitamin E to prevent lung cancer had 32 percent fewer new cases of prostate cancer than men who took the placebo. Some men also took beta carotene, but neither substance helped prevent lung cancer.

People who have quit smoking can further reduce their risk of developing lung cancer by adding lots of vegetables to their diet -- as measured by eating four or more servings of salads a week -- compared to people who quit but do not eat their veggies, report researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The investigators also found that physical activity like gardening reduces risk of developing the cancer in "former-smokers" by up to 45 percent, compared to former smokers who don't garden.

The research team also found that current smokers have a two-fold higher risk of developing lung cancer if they eat three servings or less of salad a week, compared to current smokers who do eat four or more salads weekly.

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