Like all humans, your health is threatened daily with one ailment or the other and among these is CANCER. According to an article by This Day Live online publication in 2018, “cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year, with an estimated 102,000 new cases annually”.
Cancer is simply termed ‘growth of unhealthy tissues (malignant) which results from abnormal or uncontrolled cell division.
Cancer occurs in all parts of the human body and has the ability to spread across (metastasize) to another region in the body.
Carcinogens are possible factors that when exposed to, can cause or promote cancer. There are both environmental and dietary factors that could be carcinogenic in nature.
Exposure to certain factors like radiation, sunlight, toxic substances from creams , and smoking could lead to cancer.
DIETARY FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO CANCER
- Abuse of alcohol could lead to mouth, throat and liver cancer.
- High intakes of smoke or salt preserved foods, refined flour or starch, and processed meat could lead to stomach cancer.
- High intake of saturated fats, red meat, and supplemental iron with reduced intake of fibre could lead to colorectal cancer.
- Folate deficiency and low intake of dark green leafy vegetables could lead to cervical cancer.
Fruits and vegetables don’t have the ability to cure cancer but adequate consumption of them could help prevent the development of cancer. For example, the cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli contain phytochemical that could be beneficial in defending against colon cancer.
Maintaining a healthy body weight could also help to reduce risks of cancer in both genders. Obese postmenopausal women are at the risk of developing breast cancer because fat tissues produce oestrogen and extended exposure of this oestrogen in obese postmenopausal women is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING CANCER RISKS
- Maintain a healthy body weight by eating small portions of foods, balancing energy intake with physical activities and choosing healthy fats.
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Choose lean meats, fish and poultry as alternatives to pork and processed meats as hot dogs and sausages.
- If you must take alcohol, limit it to 2 drinks per day.
- Choose whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread instead of pastries and breakfast cereals.
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