Cancer and nutrition


If you ask many American physicians what women can do to prevent breast cancer, they reply, ‘Get a mammogram every year after age 40.’ Getting a mammogram is important, but more and more people are realizing that the best ‘cure’ for cancer is not just early detection, but to avoid getting cancer in the first place. Research is continuing to establish that what you eat may contribute to your getting cancer and, conversely, other foods may protect against many forms of the disease. A diet low in animal products has been shown to decrease the risk of many types of cancer. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are much rarer in Asian countries that have low-fat, plant-based diets than in many western countries. Studies indicate the reason for this is not just genetic. When Japanese-born women, for instance, move to the U-S and begin consuming a high-fat diet, they develop breast cancer at about the same rate as American women, a rate that is more than 400 percent higher than in Japan. Dietary animal protein is believed to be an agent that encourages the growth of cancerous tumors. A diet lower in calories and fat also reduces your body’s production of ‘free radicals,’ which can damage cells and lead to cancer. Other studies have shown that the higher your blood cholesterol level, which is raised by consuming saturated fat, the greater your risk of colon cancer. Foods that are high in saturated fat include all animal products except nonfat milk, nonfat yogurt, egg whites, or products made from them. Some vegetable foods that are high in fat include nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconuts, and all oils.

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