To begin, there is no single food that can help prevent or fight cancer but it’s widely known that an unhealthy diet can have an impact on a person’s risk of cancer. In fact, it’s possible to link some parts of our diet to common cancers such as bowel, breast, esophagus, and stomach cancer [1].

With all of this in mind, it is possible to reduce your risk of cancer by sticking to a healthy and balanced diet, this means including certain foods in your diet such as:

  • Foods rich in fiber
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Foods low in saturated fats
  • Minimally processed foods

See also: The Five Most Common Types of Cancer Globally


What foods can lower the risk of cancer?


What you consume each day can have a major impact on your health - including your risk of developing certain cancers. Although there are no definite 'cancer-fighting foods', eating a balanced and healthy diet is key to a person’s overall wellbeing and including certain foods in your everyday diet can help in cancer prevention.


Foods rich in fiber


According to the NHS, including high fiber foods in your diet can not only help in lowering risk of bowel cancer, but its also linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease [2].

Some foods to include in your diet to help increase fiber intake include:

  • Porridge oats
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Beans, lentils, or chickpeas
  • Vegetables
  • Dried fruits
  • Unsalted nuts

Fruits and vegetables


A study by the American Cancer Research Fund and the American Insitute for Cancer Research suggests that non-starchy vegetables can help in preventing a number of different types of cancer such as the stomach and esophagus [3].

Some non-starchy fruits and vegetables, or cruciferous vegetables, to include in your diet include:

  • Leafy vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts

Foods low in saturated fats


Too much saturated fat can have a negative impact on your health - this includes increased risk of heart disease and high cholesterol levels. Fatty cuts of meat, cheese, pastries, and cured meats are just some of the foods high in saturated fats.

Some foods low in saturated fats to include in your diet include:

  • Dairy alternatives
  • Lean cuts of meat
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Whole-grain bread

Minimally processed foods


Processed foods are any foods that have been altered in some way and while not all processed foods are unhealthy, there are many that are high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar.

Some foods that are minimally processed to include in your diet include:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Milk (or plant-based alternatives)
  • Bagged salads
  • Fruit and vegetables

See also: How Many Stages of Cancer are There and What do They Mean?


What is the connection between diet and cancer?


Having a healthy diet can have an effect on a person’s risk of developing cancer. In fact, around 1 in 20 cancers could be prevented through a healthy diet [4].

Obesity is the second largest preventable cause of cancer in the UK [5] - a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can help us stick to a healthy weight and in turn, may reduce the risk of cancer. Obesity is one of many causes of around 13 different types of cancer, some of these cancers include:

  • Endometrial cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

Cancer that is diagnosed early is more likely to be successfully treated. This is why regular cancer screening and health check-ups are so important - both of which can be done with your local healthcare provider or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked offers over 30 at-home health tests, including an HPV Test, a Colon Cancer Screening Test, and a PSA test. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available for support and help along the way.

See also: What are the Risk Factors Associated With Bowel Cancer?



References


  1. Irish Cancer Society. Diet and Cancer. Online: Cancer.ie
  2. NHS. How to get more fibre in your diet. Online: NHS.uk
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Cancer and Diet: What’s the Connection? Online: Health.harvard.edu
  4. Cancer Research UK. Diet and Cancer. Online: Cancerresearchuk.org
  5. Cancer Research UK. Diet and Cancer. Online: Cancerresearchuk.org