The foods we eat impact our health in countless ways, and women need to know how food can affect the risk of developing certain cancers. While there are cancer-fighting foods and various nutritional supplements you can take to reduce your risk of developing some cancers, it’s also important to identify individual risk factors, genetic markers, and other variables on the individual level. Diet and cancer have strong links, and choosing the right foods can help to prevent cancer or recover from it.
Making Better Food Choices
Everyone should try to limit the risk of developing cancer by making health-conscious decisions. An anti-cancer diet should include foods that bolster the immune system and organ function. A plant-based diet generally offers the best dietary support. Dark, leafy greens, vegetables, and some fruits should form the bulk of a cancer prevention diet.
Food And Cancer Risk
While there are foods that help fight cancer, there are also foods that increase the risk of developing certain cancers. Some foods cause health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease that increase the risk of developing some cancers. For example, obesity greatly increases the risk of cancer in the colon, kidneys, pancreas, and esophagus. Overweight people generally produce more insulin and estrogen, two naturally occurring hormones that can increase the growth rate of cancer cells.
A study from the International Journal of Cancer reported that processed meat consumption could increase the risk of developing breast cancer*. Fast food restaurants that serve processed meat products and frozen meals with processed meats are common choices for many Americans due to their convenience, and overconsumption of these foods can interfere with healthy digestion and lead to an increased breast cancer risk.
Human breast tissue and mammary glands also develop a natural balance of probiotic bacterial microbes, and diet can disrupt this balance**. One study showed that diet can disrupt probiotic bacteria balance in the body outside of the digestive tract, so it is possible for some foods to affect mammary health and development. A study from the Clinical & Experimental Metastasis journal*** reported that a diet high in fish oils could slow breast cancer cell growth.
Developing A Better Diet
Everyone has individual dietary issues, but it can be easier than you expect to build a diet with the best cancer-fighting foods for you. Some of the best foods for a healthy cancer-fighting diet include:
- Coffee. Coffee can help reduce the risk of developing some types of uterine cancer and alter the way the body processes estrogen and insulin.
- Garlic is a food that contains nutrients that can prevent bowel, stomach, colon, and breast cancers.
- Lentils. These small beans are very rich in dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and a healthy weight. Fiber also limits the risk of colon and stomach cancer by making it difficult for tumor cells to grow in the gut.
- Leafy green vegetables. Kale, broccoli, and spinach are some of the healthiest foods anyone can eat. These vegetables reduce the risk of heart disease, digestive cancers, and promote a healthy weight.
- Onions. The anti-inflammatory properties of onions and shallots can prevent colon and liver cancer.
- Grapes. These sweet berries contain an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer growth in the breasts, lymph nodes, liver, and stomach.
These are just a few of the foods that can increase your protection from certain types of cancer. While adding these foods to your diet can increase resistance to some types of cancer, it is also vital to remove other elements of your diet that may be increasing your cancer risk. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid:
- Overly processed foods, especially processed meat products
- Frozen meat products and prepared meals with lots of preservatives
- Sugary foods and beverages
- Artificial sweeteners
Making Healthier Life Choices To Reduce Cancer Risk
In addition to proper diet, a few simple lifestyle changes can improve overall health and limit the risk of cancer too. Regular physical activity helps keep heart function and blood flow at appropriate levels and can limit the risk of developing some types of cancer. Portion control and avoiding unhealthy foods helps to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn prevents the cancers associated with obesity.
Stress management also plays a role in overall health. Mental fatigue and acute stress can have a dramatic impact on the body, and it’s essential to develop healthy coping techniques. Treating stress with unhealthy foods or alcohol not only diminishes overall health, but also makes it more difficult to build healthy stress management techniques in the long run.
Metabolism’s Role In Female Health
If you want to know how to avoid cancer you need to assess your personal dietary needs and decide how to adjust your diet in healthy ways that work for you. If weight loss is a concern, some diet plans may be very restrictive and cause stress, ultimately leading to more adverse health problems later.
Finding The Support You Need
Arizona Gynecology Consultants is a team of experienced medical professionals dedicated to promoting women’s health. Our team treats individual patient issues with comprehensive, personalized treatment plans that address not only adverse symptoms, but also the causes of those symptoms. Hormones and metabolism play a very significant role in women’s health and developing certain types of cancer.
Arizona Gynecology Consultants offers a wide range of women’s health services, screenings, and dietary support resources to help you build a diet that reduces your risk of developing cancer. Women who have already received cancer diagnoses can bolster their treatment and speed up recovery with some dietary changes as well.
The first step in overcoming cancer or preventing cancer in the first place is a full assessment of your dietary and metabolic needs, and Arizona Gynecology Consultants can help. Learn more about our specialists and the women’s health services we offer.
Founder and Medical Director of ARIZONA GYNECOLOGY CONSULTANTS
Dr. Kelly Roy is a specialist in surgical gynecology and advanced laparoscopy (and hysteroscopy). She is a long-time resident of Arizona and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University before finishing her Doctorate of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1997.
Dr. Roy completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the then “Banner Good Samaritan Hospital” (now Banner University Medical Center), in Phoenix Arizona in 2001.
Well known for her teaching and surgical ability, she is on the faculty at the residency program at both Banner University Medical Center and Saint Joseph’s Hospital in central Phoenix and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix Campus. Dr. Roy has taught advanced surgical techniques to medical students, residents, fellows and colleagues for over 15 years.
Dr. Roy is also a consultant to the medical device industry and has participated in the design and clinical testing of many instruments and surgical devices available on the world-wide market today.