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 heavily influenced by your diet.
Many foods contain beneficial compounds that could help decrease the growth of cancer.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables that may have potent anticancer properties.
One 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 off 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.
One 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 come with some cancer-fighting benefits.
Several studies have found that eating more carrots is linked to a decreased risk of certain types of cancer.
For example, an analysis looked at the results of five studies and concluded that eating carrots may reduce the risk of stomach cancer by up to 26%.
Another study found that a higher intake of carrots was associated with 18% lower odds of developing prostate cancer.
One study analyzed the diets of 1,266 participants with and without lung cancer. It found that current smokers who did not eat carrots were three times as likely to develop lung cancer, compared to those who ate carrots more than once per week.
Try incorporating carrots into your diet as a healthy snack or delicious side dish just a few times per week to increase your intake and potentially reduce your risk of cancer.
Berries are high in anthocyanins, plant pigments that have antioxidant properties and may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
In one human study, 25 people with colorectal cancer were treated with bilberry extract for seven days, which was found to reduce the growth of cancer cells by 7%.
Another small study gave freeze-dried black raspberries to patients with oral cancer and showed that it decreased levels of certain markers associated with cancer progression.
One animal study found that giving rats freeze-dried black raspberries reduced esophageal tumor incidence by up to 54% and decreased the number of tumors by up to 62%.
Similarly, another animal study showed that giving rats a berry extract was found to inhibit several biomarkers of cancer.
Based on these findings, including a serving or two of berries in your diet each day may help inhibit the development of cancer.
Research has found that eating nuts may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
For instance, a study looked at the diets of 19,386 people and found that eating a greater amount of nuts was associated with a decreased 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 cancers.
Other studies have found that specific types of nuts may be linked to a lower cancer risk.
For example, Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which may help protect against lung cancer in those with a low selenium status.
Similarly, one animal study showed that feeding mice walnuts 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 nuts to your diet each day may reduce your risk of developing cancer in the future.
5. 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 may help protect against cancer.
One massive review made up of 19 studies showed that people who consumed the greatest amount of 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 the cancer rates in 28 countries around the world and found that areas with a higher intake of olive oil had decreased rates of colorectal cancer.
Swapping out other oils in your diet for olive oil is a simple way to take advantage of its health benefits. You can drizzle it over salads and cooked vegetables, or try using it in your marinades for meat, fish or poultry.
With these new knowledge, it is crucial to incorporate some of these food into your diet to protect yourself against diseases like cancer.