June is National Fruits and Vegetables month. While summer cookouts are full of meats and potato salad, this June is a reminder of the power of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the main benefits of a diet rich in fruits and veggies is the reduced risk of cancer. Cancer is a disease that will affect most of us in our lifetime. It’s estimated over 500,000 deaths occur from cancer every year. There have been dozens of studies on the effects of diet and getting cancer, and the message from the majority of doctors is clear: eat better and your risk of being diagnosed with cancer is lowered throughout your lifetime.
While no study has found definitively that eating certain types of food can fight against cancer cells developing in the human body, there is strong evidence that people who eat fresh fruits and veggies, compared to other types of diets, have better health overall and attract cancer at a lesser rate. True, scientists know better about what not to eat to avoid cancer (like processed foods and red meat), however fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs to stay health and ward off cancer.
One of the main bodily functions that allows cancer to develop is inflammation. While inflammation can help the body, in cases of bruises and other small ailments, chronic inflammation can cause the body to attack even healthy cells, and give cancer the opening it needs to thrive in the body. What does this have to do with an article on eating fruits and vegetables? Many fruits and veggies can reduce the type of bad inflammation in our body. The best food to eat is green vegetables, bok choy, and celery. While these are not the only veggies that reduce inflammation, they are the ones packed with the most anti-inflammatory antioxidants like vitamin K.
Vitamin C does much more than fight a cold (in theory). Studies on cancer have found that diets rich in fruits and veggies containing vitamin C have a reduced risk of colon, stomach, bladder, and breast cancer, to name a few. That’s because vitamin C can prevent the formation of the nitrogen compounds in the body that allow cancer to form.
In addition to diets rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene (found in most fruits and veggies), plant based foods are also rich in phytochemicals, which protect cells from becoming damaged or altered by cancer cells. Garlic, for example, has been shown to reduce certain types of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Certain acids can help reduce the risk of cancer. Ellagic acid, found in fruits like pomegranates and other berries has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer cell growth. Ellagic acid has also been shown to reduce or eliminate cancer causing compounds in the body. While most berries are rich in ellagic acid, you can also find it in grapes of all colors.
So start to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. While they may not be proven to fight against cancer, a healthy diet filled with antioxidants found in most fruits and veggies will improve your odds against this deadly disease.
For more health tips and to learn about our air ambulance services follow us on Twitter!