Cancer and diet: What’s the connection?

In fact, estimates suggest that less than 30% of a person’s lifetime risk of getting cancer results from uncontrollable factors.

Published: 17th October 2020 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2020 09:04 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Your dietary habits can promote cancer or protect you against it. Much research has pointed toward certain foods and nutrients that may help prevent or contribute to certain types of cancer. Keep in mind that most research only points to associations between diet and cancer, and not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship. Science has found that certain dietary habits tend to have a greater influence.

There are other factors you can control. In fact, estimates suggest that less than 30% of a person’s lifetime risk of getting cancer results from uncontrollable factors. It is understood from various studies that 30% to 40% of all cancers may be prevented by changes in diet and physical activity

Changes in diet
According to the recommendations of the World Cancer Research Foundation and the American Institute for Cancer Research, following a fibre diet and limiting intake of fats decrease the risk of cancer rising. Healthy diet is known as the increase of intake of unrefined cereals, vegetables, fruits, and limited consumption of saturated fatty acids and red meat. 

Suggestions by experts
Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes   Include dark green and orange vegetables, as well as dry beans and peas each week. Limit high fat foods from animal sources.

Choose fish, poultry, or beans as an alternative to beef, pork, and lamb. When you eat meat, select lean cuts and smaller portions You can eat sugar/carbohydrates, but stick to naturally-occurring sugars such as in fruits  Avoid foods and beverages high in processed sugars but low in other nutrients Choose whole grains over refined versions Use safe storage methods and promptly chill or freeze leftovers Avoid burning of meat juices

Alcohol increases risk of mouth and esophageal cancers, pharynx and larynx cancers, liver cancer, breast cancer in women. Combined use of alcohol and tobacco greatly increases risk. 

Weight gain and cancer
Modifying your diet can keep your weight under control. A higher body mass index increases the risk of developing some of the most common cancers. Scientists discovered that among five million people studied, gain of 34 pounds was linked with a 10% or higher risk for colon, gallbladder, kidney, and liver cancers. Experts say body fat produces hormones and inflammatory proteins that can promote tumour cell growth. Yo-yo dieting has been shown to decrease immunity and may increase susceptibility to cancer. Being overweight increases the chance of getting cancer(s).  

— Dr. Vasudha Mathur, chief dietician, Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Hyderabad.


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