Moger: Healthy eating habits best weapon to avoid cancer

Eating a healthy diet of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily will extend your life by improving your health.

If you’re concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort that by making healthy lifestyle changes, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Common risk factors for cancer include a lack of physical activity, being overweight and a poor diet.

Along with weight control, daily physical activity helps lower the risk of breast and colon cancer.

Strive to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you can do more, even better.

fruits and vegResearch has found that eating a healthy diet of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily will extend your life by improving your health.  Research from Stanford Medicine is proving that some components of super foods may play a role in decreasing the risk of developing cancer, including phytochemicals and antioxidants.

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

Eating large amounts of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (yellow, orange, red, green, white, blue, purple), whole grains/cereals, and beans containing phytochemicals may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers as well as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The action of phytochemicals varies by colour and type of the food. They may act as antioxidants or nutrient protectors, or prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from forming.

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the oxidation process and act as protective agents.

They protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals (byproducts of the body’s normal chemical processes).

Free radicals attack healthy cells, which changes their DNA, allowing tumors to grow.

Antioxidants include:

• Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) vitamin C may protect against cancer of the oral cavity, stomach and esophagus; reduce the risk of developing cancers of the rectum, pancreas and cervix; and protect against breast and lung cancer.

Examples of some foods high in Vitamin C—red and green pepper, oranges, papaya, strawberries, broccoli.

• According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Beta carotene

Beta carotene, also known as pro-vitamin A, may help decrease the risk of developing cancer by enhancing the white blood cells in your immune system which work to block cell-damaging free radicals.

Examples of some foods high in beta carotene are carrots, squash, collard, spinach and sweet potatoes

• Vitamin E helps to build normal and red blood cells, as well as working as an antioxidant. Examples of some foods high in vitamin E include sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, bran cereal, whole wheat bread and wheat germ.