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Eat vegetables to prevent cancer

Opening a door for a whole range of healthy vegetables is important to prevent certain cancers and maintaining health

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |


Healthy diet including vegetables can lower your risk of dying early from certain cancers. To prevent cancer, base your meals and snacks around fresh produce. Today, cancer is a major public health problem across the world. Therefore, many dietary recommendations are aimed at preventing this disease.

Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases and is not contagious. The disease can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroys cancer cells. A major amount of your lifetime risk of cancer can be minimised by making small changes in your diet and behaviours. And if you have already been diagnosed with cancer, eating nutritious can help support your mood and strengthen your body during this puzzling time. Focus on adding more vegetables to your diet in their best natural form to boost your immune system and help protect against cancer cells.

A few vegetables that are considered as super foods to combat cancer include:

Carrot: Carrot is a rich source of vitamin A, fiber and vitamin K. It contains phytochemicals that can act as antioxidants. These include Beta-craotene and alpha-carotene, luteolin, falcarinol and other polyacetylenes. These flavonoid phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and other protective effects which are important for immune function, maintaining healthy cells and activating carcinogen-metabolising enzymes among other roles.

Broccoli: There is a compound called sulforaphane in broccoli that helps our bodies fight cancer. Sulforaphane actively kills cancer stem cells, slowing a tumor’s growth. It also normalises DNA methylation which is a crucial part of normal cell function and suppresses bad genes. Broccoli can activate genes that can prevent cancer development.

Brussels sprouts: Eating Brussels sprouts can help supply the antioxidants your body needs to reduce oxidative stress in your cells and help you lower your risk of chronic disease. They contain Kampferol, an antioxidant that may reduce cancer growth. Brussels sprouts increase the levels of some detoxification enzymes by 15 to 30 percent and protect against cancer-causing agents.

Squash: Squash is packed with Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives certain fruits and vegetables, like squash, their bright orange pigment. People who consume a high amount of Beta-carotene appear to have a lower risk of cancer.

Spinach: Spinach is fully loaded with a variety of cancer-fighting phytonutrients including carotenoids and flavonoids, vitamins and minerals that can help prevent and repair DNA damage in cells, thus keeping cells healthy and protecting against cancer development. Spinach intake also reduces inflammation, which is protective against cancer development. Bioactive compounds found in spinach can also reduce the risk of cancer by regulating the cell cycle to allow for more time to repair.

Green peas: Green peas are a good source of protein and are also an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, a B vitamin. Besides these nutrients, green peas also contain saponins, plant compounds known for having anti-cancer effects. These compounds have the potential to inhibit cancer growth. Eating green peas regularly can reduce the risk of cancer mostly due to the presence of antioxidant content and its ability to reduce inflammation.

Tomato: Tomato is an excellent source of Vitamin C and A produced from Beta-carotene. In addition to Beta-carotene, tomatoes contain a number of other carotenoids which contain cancer-fighting properties and may help prevent certain cancers.

Bell peppers: Bell peppers are extremely high in antioxidants, vitamin A and C. C powers up your immune system. Vitamin A helps you with anti-inflammatory benefits and cut the risk of cancer by significantly reducing the free radical activity in your body. Being rich in carotenoids, this veggie reduces the risk of cancer by interfering with the estrogen hormone signalling ability.

Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients known as antioxidants that help prevent cancer. Make a pledge to yourself to eat fresh produce at every meal and do the things that help you keep your promise. Place vegetables in transparent containers in your fridge where you can regularly see them. Add extra veggies to everyday staples like soups, omelettes, salads and sandwiches to get extra dose of nourishment.

Keep vegetables on hand. Choose regular and small-sized portions instead of value meals and supersizing. Drink a lot of water. Avoid fast food by steering clear of temptation. Skip carb-laden fried foods and sugary foods and drinks. Choose fresh seasonal vegetables instead.

Meal planning and cooking veggies at home can help you stick to your nutritional goals and avoid unhealthy outside meals.