Cancer Preventing Foods Facts and Misbeliefs

Many articles propagandize certain foods that could lower the chance of developing cancer — however only limited evidence supporting the majority of these claims. Sometimes the conclusions of different studies contradict with each other. Although there is not enough proof supporting theories of eating specific food will indeed lower your risk of developing cancer. But we all know that living on those alleged cancer-preventing foods are good for your health anyway.

I try to convey the recent scientific findings on cancer-preventing foods that are up to date. But the information will probably be obsolete shortly. As always, new studies may come up with contradictory results. As we now know, a diet to reduce the risk of cancer is generally the same diet that prevents heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Cancer preventing foods in 2019:

  1. A healthy diet does good for your looks, and as a side effect may lower cancer risk compared to a “bad diet.”
  2. Moderate the consumption of alcohol.
  3. Reduce the number of occasions when having processed, BBQ, and fried food.
  4. Have fish or seafood at least once a week.
  5. Don’t eat red meat every day.
  6. Eat fruits or vegetables each day.
  7. Go for peas, beans, and lentils.

Controversial foods in 2019:

  • Don’t eat too many chilies – they may increase the risk for gastric and esophagus cancer, but not sure. On the other hand, eating chilies have many advantages.
  • Eat a minimal amount of fat. Why? Because you’ll be hungry sooner and will be eating snacks – and help the economy grow. However, fat won’t cause you cancer by itself, but your brain will function better. So you better eat at least a little fat every day.
  • Much of the fat that you eat should come from sources like olive, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, and fish.
  • Use a moderate amount of soy oil and corn oil in the diet, since these have a high omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. Being said, not enough omega-3 supposedly not good for the heart, but according to recent studies, it’s probably indifferent to the heart.
  • Don’t use too much salt – it’s only speculated, but not based on facts that salt may increase the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Avoid trans-fat. This type of fat is in margarine, cookies, snacks, fast food, and other pre-made food.
  • Avoid sugar. Why? Because it makes you fat. Although, only between you and me: sugar doesn’t cause cancer and rejecting sugar altogether won’t make cancer shrink. Whoever says otherwise is either ignorant or deliberately spread bogus information. Anyway, only eat minimal sugar.
  • Consume just a moderate amount of refined flour or bread and pasta made from refined flour, because they contain little fiber. Have brown or wholemeal bread and pasta instead because of the higher fiber content. According to research, we need to consume 30g fiber each day to lessen the chance to develop colorectal cancer. 30g (1 once), daily? You have to eat 20 Weetabix a day to get that much fiber. Can you? Well, if you can, you deserved to live forever…on Weetabix.

A quote from NHS:

But because of the wide range of foods included in the ultra-processed category, it’s difficult to establish which specific foods might be responsible for the increased cancer risk, and why.

The increased risk could be caused by eating more high-sugar, high-fat processed food.

Or it may be that some people who eat more ultra-processed foods tend to be unhealthy in other ways, too.
We know people who eat more ultra-processed food are also more likely to smoke, take less exercise and take in more calories.

Foods that could lower the risk of cancer

Generally, plants, fruits, and spices with intense color or a strong taste may have cancer-preventing effects because of the contents of bioflavonoid and other anti-oxidants.

At least weekly consumption of cruciferous vegetables [3] broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower are vegetables with proven cancer-preventing effects, probably due to the content of indole-3-carbinole.

Onion and garlic are also thought to help prevent cancer.

Whole grain flour and bread made of whole-grain flour can help prevent colon cancer because of the fiber content and possibly also because it contains vitamins and minerals.

Eating fish, and especially oily fish, supposedly have some protecting effect against prostate cancer.

Some evidence points to the conclusion that green tea can help prevent cancer. However, studies so far do not sort out all variables that may give a false result.

Some studies have indicated that drinking coffee reduces the incidence of cancer, but other studies have thrown doubt upon these results.

Supplements with possible cancer prevention effects:

Sulforaphane [1]

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) [2]

Indol-3-carbinol [3]

Genistein [4]

vitamin D [5]

Alfa-tocopherol (Vitamin E) efficiency is not supported, but beta and gamma-tocopherols are probably effective [6]

Vitamin C [7]

Beta-carotene, (a precursor of vitamin A) Current data are not sufficient to establish a beneficial effect of beta carotene in human cancer [8]

Supplements that may increase cancer risk in larger doses

Beta-carotene and vitamin A supplements may increase the risk of lung and gastric cancer for heavy smokers. [9]

However, the vitamin naturally occurring in food does not increase this risk. It is not clear what effect beta-carotene have on lung cancer in combination with other supplements or by non-smokers. The results of these studies are also controversial.

“Red meat cause cancer” is the current rhetoric to scare people. “Vegan” has become a religion in this picky, food allergic “Facebook generation.” But I don’t know why much tabloid press lies about that red meat is a carcinogen and being on the IARC Group 1 carcinogen list.

I understand why: because that is what people want to hear. It’s popular. It has been made trendy by influencers. (Some of them are caught closet meat eaters.)

List of IARC Group 1 carcinogens C’mon check out and try to find red meat on that list.

Conclusion:

One thing is sure about cancer prevention: nothing is specific. It’s all about maybe, possibly, could, may not…etc

That being said, the blind leading the blind. Regarding the internet, “one fool makes many.” Don’t fall for “tabloid science,” instead ask your granny. Her age proves her knowledge.

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