Healthy diet strategies to help reduce cancer risk - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Healthy diet strategies to help reduce cancer risk

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MADISON (WKOW) -- April is Cancer Control Month. A researcher at the National Cancer Institute says, “The easiest, least-expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet."

According to Stanford’s Cancer Institute, the components of food that may play a role in decreasing the risk of developing cancer include phytochemicals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids:

Phytochemicals

> Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants that protect plants against bacteria, viruses and fungi.

> Commonly known examples include carotenoids, flavonoids, isoflavones, lutein, and lycopene found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables - think colors of the rainbow.

> Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery and cabbage.

> Fruits: blueberries, raspberries, pink grapefruit, pears, cantaloupe, apples, apricots and olives.

> Beverages: green tea and red wine.

Antioxidants

> Antioxidants protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals, by-products of the body’s normal chemical processes. Free radicals attack healthy cells, which changes their DNA, allowing tumors to grow.

> Examples include Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, and Vitamin E.

> Foods rich in Vitamin C: strawberries, oranges, raw red and green peppers, and cooked broccoli

> Foods rich in Beta Carotene: spinach, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes

> Foods rich in Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts (one ounce each).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

> Omega-3 fatty acids are being studied for their effects on delaying or reducing tumor development in breast and prostate cancers.

> Foods rich in omega-3: cold-water fish such salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring and seeds such as flaxseed and chia seeds.

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