It’s October again and the many initiatives to raise awareness for breast cancer that takes place in this month is truly life-changing for many women. We now know that our lifestyle and our diets can play important roles in fighting not just breast cancer, but cancer as a whole. Whilst there is an abundance of information advocating ‘superfoods’ with ‘cancer-busting’ abilities, it is unlikely that any food on their own will directly increase or decrease our risk of the illness. This month, let’s take a look at 4 evidence-based ways we can use our diet to combat cancer.

Increase fibre intake

Wholegrains, pulses (beans & lentils), fruit and vegetables are all high fibre options that should make up a large proportion of our diet. Just 10 grams of fibre per day can reduce our risk of bowel cancer by 10%.

Also read: The importance of early detection and treatment for cancer

Increase vegetable and fruit intake

Fruit and vegetables contain nutrients namely carotenoids, selenium, flavonoids, a variety of vitamins and phytochemicals that makes it difficult for cancer to develop. An interesting fact to note is that these nutrients do not fight cancer when taken in supplement form. Furthermore, being overweight increases the risk of 13 types of cancer; and a diet high in fruit and vegetables helps keep our weight in check.

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Reduce red and processed meat

Processed meat—ham, bacon, salami and sausages, is classified as a cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer; and red meat--beef, lamb and pork, a probable cause of cancer.  It is likely that chemicals found in red and processed meat are the agents causing the disease. There is no evidence that white meat like chicken or fish is linked to cancer.

Eat this instead: Refreshing, nourishing smoothie bowls

Reduce salt and salt preserved food

Research has shown a link between total salt consumption and cancer. Salt is also specifically linked to stomach cancer—possibly causing our stomach lining to be more sensitive to carcinogens such as nitrates. There has also been evidence linking salt preserved food with stomach cancer.

(Photos: Pexels)

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