What can we do nutritionally to prevent cancer?
No specific diet. The nutritional recommendations based on patterns such as Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, plant-based diet, have all the intentions of including in a regular pattern, the contribution of nutrients and antioxidants required to prevent cancer. What do we mean? We are not talking about losing weight with a “keto” diet, paleo, atkins or any other calorie adjustment, but rather, the effect of the ‘quality’ of the diet, not the quantity.
Most of the studies that have associated obesity with cancer have been done in breast cancer. Other types of cancer, such as colorectal and prostate cancer, have linked the consumption of fiber and antioxidants (lycopene, lutein, carotenes and others).RELATED
Let's talk briefly about these antioxidants and the anticancer effect that has been proposed to them:
Lycopene: It is characterized by giving that intense red color to fruits such as tomatoes and derivatives. In addition to tomato, we find it in melon, grapefruit, pink guava. It has been shown to have a role in reducing cholesterol and therefore reducing cardiovascular risk. In some studies (mainly in animals) it has demonstrated an anticancer activity as an antioxidant and other functions at the molecular level.
Carotenos: Here I remember my father as a child, encouraging me to consume the favorite food of ‘Bugs Bunny’, a cartoon from my time that consumed a lot of carrots. The main source of carotenes are carrots, auyamas and pumpkins. Animal studies have suggested that alpha-carotenes block tumor formation in the skin, lung, liver and colon (Aghajanpour, 2017).
Lutein: especially present in vegetables (green and colored leaves) and some fruits. Among these, peppers, corn, kiwi, grapes, oranges. Lutein stands out especially for its protection of the skin and avoiding the damage caused by exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet rays.
Do we notice that most of the foods mentioned are vegetables and fruits?
That is precisely what we want to highlight. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, colors, variety and palatability, proposes a strategy to fight the effect of a global pandemic such as cancer. Let's reduce the consumption of processed foods and give the opportunity to easily accessible foods that will have a greater impact on our cancer prevention effort.