Talk about Cancer Prevention
We hear about super foods like blueberries, Green tea, Tomatoes and cruciferous cauliflower. Then there are the foods such as smoked meat and fried foods that supposedly might cause cancer, but is it so?
The role of nutrition in cancer prevention is much more complex than a single dietary component. There is evidence, that diet, weight control and exercise is vital in helping reduce risk, experts endorse general dietary advice that is healthful for a variety of chronic diseases and conditions, rather than reductionist thinking that focuses on single foods or nutrients. Reductionist thinking neglects the broader approaches of cancer nutrition research, including eating patterns and the mechanisms of microbiology.
Cancer is complicated
When you hear that a certain food helps prevent cancer, ask: Which cancer? Cancer is really over 100 different diseases. Cancer is a very complex and a very challenging disease. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Different cancers can have somewhat different risk factors, which may or may not overlap. The cancers linked to tobacco, for example, might differ from those linked to radiation or chemical exposure.
For a while, attention focused on folic acid and Vitamin E, which didn’t quite live up to all its hopes, at least for cancer. Now there’s a great deal of interest in vitamin D, selenium etc.
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of cancer incidence and death worldwide. After tobacco, diet, weight control and exercise may be linked to one-third to two-thirds of cancers.
There is a strong link between excess weight and several kinds of cancer, including the esophagus, breast (after menopause), endometrium, colon and rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, according to the NCI. Exercise helps balance calories consumed and calories burned.
The lifestyle impact
Fourteen types of cancer seemed affected by lifestyle behavior, most particularly gallbladder, endometrial, liver and colorectal. For men and women, a healthful weight and physical activity were the top factors in reduced deaths overall.
Another approach to cancer and nutrition considers dietary patterns, which means what we eat over long term. Several diets that emphasized fruit, vegetables, whole grains and plants or plant-based proteins were analyzed. Consuming a high-quality diet was associated with lower death rates from chronic diseases including cancer.
For researchers in the field of developmental nutrition, the quest is not what you eat, but when you eat it.
For breast cancer, for example, researchers are looking at nutrition at birth and time of first period through first pregnancy. Evidence is increasing that eating red meat in high school might have a bearing on the development of some kinds of breast cancer decades later. Also, alcohol consumption by young women may raise the risk of breast cancer later in life.
Personalized diet advice
Nutrigenomics, considers what we eat, the components in our foods and their interactions with genetic processes, until then eat all foods , maintain a healthy weight and engage in daily exercise, someday research on our genetic and biochemical differences might lead to personalized dietary recommendations to reduce cancer risk.