According to the American Cancer Society, Georgia will experience an estimated 61,170 new cancer cases in 2023 — only a fraction of the country’s 1,958,310 total cases anticipated this year. By the end of 2023, the U.S. will experience approximately 609,820 deaths from cancer.
Approximately 5% of all those cancer cases can be attributed to poor diet.
“Diet patterns high in red and processed meat, starchy foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks are associated with a higher risk of developing cancer (predominantly colon), whereas those with an emphasis on a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish or poultry, and fewer red and processed meats are associated with lower risk,” the American Cancer Society reported.
The American Institute for Cancer Research doubled down on the American Cancer Society’s report, noting that research shows that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other plant foods can reduce cancer risks. Cruciferous vegetables — like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and arugula — are some of the best foods for stopping cancer before it starts.
“The link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention is relatively well-studied,” the institute reported. “Lab studies showed several ways that sulforaphane, formed from glucosinolates in broccoli, could thwart the development and progression of prostate cancer. Limited human intervention trials support this potential, however, population studies that followed men for 9 to 22 years showed no link with total – or any form – of prostate cancer so far.”
Whole grains are high in dietary fiber, offering greater nutrients beyond what can be found in refined grains.
“Analysis combining six observational cohort studies found 15% lower overall cancer risk with the equivalent of three standard servings (90 grams) per day,” the American Institute for Cancer Research reported. “One example of how you can accumulate this amount is with two slices of whole-grain bread plus a one-ounce portion of whole-grain cereal.”
The dietary fiber, resistant starch and phenolic compounds found in legumes may support health-promoting gut bacteria, but they may also be beneficial for curbing cancer. Some data links regular legume consumption with a reduced risk of prostate and breast cancers. However the findings are not agreed upon quite yet. The biggest benefit of legumes remains dietary fiber.
“Beyond the strong link AICR/WCRF found between dietary fiber and lower risk of colorectal cancer, other research related to dietary fiber is not as clear,” the institute reported. “Observational population studies link high dietary fiber consumption with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. Analyses combining 16 to 20 prospective cohort studies also link dietary fiber with a lower risk of breast cancer.”
From tomatoes to grapefruits to oranges, the American Institute for Cancer Research reported that several fruits have cancer-reducing effects.
Tomatoes, for example, offer preventative effects against prostate cancer.
“Of the many human studies investigating tomatoes, lycopene and cancer risk, most are observational studies of populations,” the institute said. “Early research linked tomato consumption and blood levels of lycopene to reduced prostate cancer risk, leading to a focus on the role of tomato consumption and this cancer.”
Grapefruits and oranges are among the citrus fruits that the institute reported as reducing the risk of stomach cancer. It may also help reduce incidences of lung cancer.
“Limited evidence ties citrus fruit specifically to lower risk of stomach cancer...,” the institute reported. “Analysis for the report also links citrus fruit consumption and lower risk of lung cancer, but relatively large variation in results of different studies (heterogeneity) means that further research is needed.”
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