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Eating Healthy to Prevent Cancer

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Other Vitamins and Minerals

  • Folic Acid. Evidence now exists that suggests that folic acid is an excellent weapon in the fight against cancer. It is already known to be essential in forming new cells and tissues as well as keeping red blood cells healthy. The most common sources of folic acid are citrus fruits and dark, green leafy vegetables, especially spinach.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D. Some recent studies have suggested that these two substances may not only strengthen bones, but may also fight off colon, breast, and prostate cancers although other studies have not confirmed this; more research is needed. Good sources of calcium include: Milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon (with bones), sardines, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard, and collard greens. Sources of Vitamin D include salmon, sardines, fortified cow's milk, egg yolks, and chicken livers.

Fiber to Improve Overall Health

Fiber is thought to be a powerful weapon against cancer. Though there is conflicting research as to whether or not fiber has protective effects against colorectal cancer, there is evidence that fiber intake improves overall health by moving wastes through the digestive tract faster. This may give potentially toxic wastes less time to come into contact with intestinal cells.

It is also believed that some types of fiber help detoxify potential cancer-causing substances as well as prevent these substances from being absorbed by the cells of the intestines. Good sources of fibers include: whole-grain cereals and breads, prunes, berries, kidney beans and other legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and brown rice.

Cancer-Fighting Phytochemicals

Recently discovered to be helpful in the fight against cancer, phytochemicals are non-nutrient substances such a flavonoids, phenols, and terpenes which are found in a variety of plant foods including tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and soy beans.

Healthy Eating Guidelines

You can learn to eat a healthy, cancer-fighting diet by following these guidelines from the American Cancer Society:

  • Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources.
  • Limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources.
  • Be physically active; achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 23, 2012
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