Eat right and beat the Big C

According to the World Health Organization, “the biggest epidemic of our time is the product of, not a virus that has run amok, but our changing lifestyles.”

Published: 08th June 2017 05:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2017 05:27 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Cancer does not only cause physical stress, but also drains out the patient and family members emotionally.

The financial burden caused by the disease makes it difficult to do things you would have loved to do otherwise. But what if you get to know that by avoiding some kinds of food, you could reduce the chances of getting the disease? We often tend to ignore the nutritional aspects of the food, but for a healthy body, this practice is inevitable.

According to the World Health Organization, “the biggest epidemic of our time is the product of, not a virus that has run amok, but our changing lifestyles.”

According to the American Cancer Society, up to 35 percent of all cancers may be caused due to inappropriate diet, and risk of developing certain types of cancer can be reduced by changing eating habits.

By 2030, we will have globally 26.4 million patients with cancer every year. Lifestyle habits like occupation, habits, diet, genetic, hygiene, stress are the ones leading to cancer.

There are various chemical components added to foods that are carcinogenic. Some of these harmful processes, adding of chemicals and alteration of genetics, are done in the growing stage of crops, fruits and vegetables.

A lifestyle change is key

Having a balanced and healthy diet helps a person stay healthy and prevent cancer. Exercise regularly and keep fit.

No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.Laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.

AICR research finds that excess body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers. Vegetables and fruits are relatively low in calories. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber, which also can help with weight management. That is one reason AICR recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with plant foods. Research on foods that fight cancer – and that may also aid cancer survival – is ongoing and active.

The various lifestyle changes that we are adopting that includes decreased physical activity ,unhealthy food – leading to obesity, tobacco use, excess of carbonated drinks, alcohol excess all contribute to increasing a persons chance of being prone to cancer. The lifestyle changes can also produce mental stress which is known to depress the immune system and make the body vulnerable to various diseases including cancer.So make a wise choice and lead a healhy life.

Some foods that can cause cancer

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

These foods have been modified and grown using chemicals. Consuming this food can lead to damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous cell growths, along with shrinking brains and livers.

Canned Goods

A buyer must ensure that the cans they pick in the supermarket is labelled BPA free. It’s likely to contain bisphenol-A (BPA). Laboratory studies in cells of animals have linked BPA to cancer, infertility, diabetes, and obesity.

Microwave Popcorn

The bags used to pack microwave popcorn are creased with perfluoroalkyls, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoro octane sulfonate (PFOS). This is done to prevent the bag from soaking the oil. According to research, it has been observed that PFOA has been associated with tumours in animal organs (liver, pancreas, testicles and mammary glands in rats). Increased number of prostate cancer has been observed in PFOA plant workers.

Refined Sugar

Cancer cells thrive on sugar. Researchers have found relations between sugar and health issues such as unhealthy levels of blood fats, low HDL levels, heart disease, higher blood triglyceride levels, obesity, weak immune, arthritis, cancer, etc.

Farmed Fish

Farmed fish contain higher levels of chemical pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls, as compared to wild fish.

Tobacco usage

Smoking/chewing tobacco can cause cancer. Annually, there are 6,30,000 premature  deaths due to tobacco use. Tobacco usage can cause lip, oral cavity, pharynx,larynx, trachea, bronchus and lung cancer.


World Health Organization concluded that excessive alcohol use is the main cause of heart diseases and various types of cancers.

Soda and Carbonated Beverages

Soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, sugar, dyes, brominated vegetable oil (a flame retardant), and aspartame,  which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Processed meats

Cured meats tend to be high in nitrites and nitrates, preservatives which, if consumed in large amounts, can potentially increase risk of stomach and other cancers. Some foods preserved with high concentrations of salt also are carcinogenic. Improperly stored food grains can get infected with fungus that produce toxins that can cause cancer.

Associate professor, medical oncology,  Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru


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