What you eat can drastically affect many aspects of your health, including your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The development of cancer, in particular, has been shown to be highly influenced by your diet.
Many foods contain beneficial compounds that may help slow cancer growth.
There are also several studies showing that a higher intake of certain foods could be associated with a lower risk of the disease.
This article will delve into research and look at 6 foods that can lower your risk of cancer.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that can have powerful anti-cancer properties.
A test-tube study showed that sulforaphane reduced the size and number of breast cancer cells by up to 75%
Similarly, an animal study found that treating mice with sulforaphane helped kill prostate cancer cells and reduced tumor volume by more than 50%.
Some studies have also found that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
An analysis of 35 studies showed that eating more cruciferous vegetables was associated with a lower risk of colorectal and colon cancer.
Including broccoli with a few meals per week may have some cancer-fighting benefits.
However, keep in mind that the available research has not directly examined how broccoli can affect cancer in humans.
Instead, it has been limited to test-tube, animal, and observational studies that investigated the effects of cruciferous vegetables or the effects of a specific compound on broccoli. Therefore, more studies are needed.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to cause tumor cell death and shrink the tumor in laboratory and animal studies. A higher intake of cruciferous vegetables may also be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Several studies have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer.
For example, one analysis looked at the results of five studies and concluded that eating carrots can reduce the risk of stomach cancer by up to 26%.
Another study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with an 18% lower chance of developing prostate cancer.
One study looked at the diets of 1,266 participants with and without lung cancer. It found that current smokers who did not eat carrots were three times more likely to develop lung cancer, compared to those who ate carrots more than once a week.
Try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or delicious side dish just a few times a week to increase your intake and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.
Still, remember that these studies show an association between carrot consumption and cancer, but do not take into account other factors that may play a role.
Some studies have found an association between carrot consumption and a decreased risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
Beans are high in fiber, which according to some studies may help protect against colorectal cancer.
One study followed 1,905 people with a history of colorectal tumors and found that those who ate the most cooked and dried beans tended to have a lower risk of tumor recurrence.
An animal study also found that feeding rats black beans or navy beans and then inducing colon cancer blocked the development of cancer cells by up to 75%.
Based on these results, eating a few servings of beans each week can increase your fiber intake and help reduce your risk of developing cancer.
However, current research is limited to animal studies and studies showing association but not causality. More studies are needed to examine this in humans, specifically.
Beans are rich in fiber, which can protect against colorectal cancer. Studies in humans and animals have found that a higher intake of beans could reduce the risk of colorectal tumors and colon cancer.
Cinnamon is known for its health benefits, including its ability to lower blood sugar and relieve inflammation.
Additionally, some test-tube and animal studies have found that cinnamon can help block the spread of cancer cells.
A test-tube study found that cinnamon extract could slow the spread of cancer cells and induce their death.
Another test-tube study showed that cinnamon essential oil suppressed the growth of head and neck cancer cells, and also significantly reduced tumor size.
An animal study also showed that cinnamon extract induced cell death in tumor cells, and it also decreased the number of tumors that grew and spread.
Including 1 / 2–1 teaspoon (2–4 grams) of cinnamon in your diet per day can be beneficial in preventing cancer and may have other benefits as well, such as lowering blood sugar and reducing inflammation.
However, more studies are needed to understand how cinnamon can affect cancer development in humans.
Test tube and animal studies have found that cinnamon extract may have anticancer properties and can help slow the growth and spread of tumors. More research is needed in humans.
Research has found that eating walnuts may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
For example, one study looked at the diets of 19,386 people and found that eating more nuts was associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer.
Another study followed 30,708 participants for up to 30 years and found that eating nuts regularly was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer.
Other studies have found that specific types of nuts may be linked to a lower risk of cancer.
For example, Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which can help protect against lung cancer in those with low selenium status.
Similarly, an animal study showed that feeding walnuts to mice decreased the growth rate of breast cancer cells by 80% and reduced the number of tumors by 60%.
These results suggest that adding a serving of walnuts to your diet each day may reduce your risk of developing cancer later in life.
Still, more human studies are needed to determine if nuts are responsible for this association, or if other factors are involved.
Some studies have found that a higher intake of walnuts can lower the risk of cancer. Research shows that some specific types, such as walnuts and Brazil nuts, may also be linked to a lower risk of cancer.
6. Olive oil
Olive oil is loaded with health benefits, so it's no wonder it's one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet.
Several studies have even found that a higher intake of olive oil can help protect against cancer.
A massive review made up of 19 studies showed that people who consumed the most olive oil had a lower risk of developing breast cancer and cancer of the digestive system than those with the lowest intake.
Another study looked at cancer rates in 28 countries around the world and found that areas with the highest intake of olive oil had decreased rates of colorectal cancer.
Swapping other oils in your diet for olive oil is an easy way to reap its health benefits. You can drizzle it over salads and cooked vegetables, or try using it in your marinades for meat, fish, or chicken.
Although these studies show that there may be an association between olive oil intake and cancer, there are likely other factors involved as well. More studies are needed to look at the direct effects of olive oil on cancer in people.
Several studies have shown that a higher intake of olive oil may be associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
As new research emerges, it becomes increasingly clear that your diet can have a major impact on your risk of cancer.
Although there are many foods that have the potential to reduce the spread and growth of cancer cells, current research is limited to laboratory, animal, and observational studies.
More studies are needed to understand how these foods can directly affect the development of cancer in humans.
Meanwhile, it is a safe bet that a diet rich in whole foods, combined with a healthy lifestyle, will improve many aspects of your health.