February is National Cancer Prevention Month: a time to evaluate your cancer risks and find ways to weave prevention into your daily routine. A great way to take preventative measures is to check your diet. You are, after all, what you eat. Plenty of cancer research has been conducted on the importance of food, and how the right diet choices may aid in cancer prevention. Research has also shown that increased weight can lead to cancer risk. This year, celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month by integrating one or all of the following foods into your diet and lowering that number on the scale.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and could keep cancer at bay, as well. Apples are full of fiber, which not only fills us up more quickly but it can also reduce the chances of colorectal cancer, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR). Eating foods full of fiber, such as apples, can keep you away from unhealthy snack choices.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, are some of the best veggies you can eat when it comes to cancer prevention. Not only are they full of fiber and minerals, they also break down to form compounds that may help prevent cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Sprinkling flaxseed on your oatmeal, peanut butter or other foods can have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. Combine this anti-inflammatory effect with fiber, and what you have is a power food for decreasing cancer risk.
Legumes are a wonderful addition to any diet. Along with fiber, they contain phytochemicals that have been shown to slow down the development of different types of cancers, according to the AICR. The legume family is comprised of beans as well as versatile foods like alfalfa, peas, peanuts and lentils. Legumes can be a tasty part of your cancer prevention plan.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C. This important vitamin does more than just act as an antioxidant and body neutralizer. Vitamin C may also decrease the risk of cancer in the esophagus and stomach, according to the AICR.
Opt for whole grain bread over white when you’re making your next sandwich. Whole grains are another great source of fiber and contain selenium, an antioxidant that can have the same neutralizing effect as Vitamin C.
For more information on cancer prevention, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist. If you’re being treated for cancer now, take a look at UVA Cancer Center’s resources on nutrition.