The Effect of a Plant-based Diet on Reducing Cancer Risk

If this year has taught the world anything, it is that health is more than ever something that everyone has to make their priority. That includes adopting healthy habits such as exercise and staying away from vices like tobacco and limiting alcohol intake. Diet also plays a big factor in living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, your food intake choices may even save your life from life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. 

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States every year. And while the actual cause of cancer of many forms is still unknown, there are lifestyle choices that increase the risk of someone acquiring it either suddenly or later on in life. But that would also mean that there are lifestyle choices that one can make to help prevent the disease. A plant-based diet is something that has been studied to have multiple benefits, one of which is cancer prevention. Take a look at how switching to a plant-based diet could help reduce the risk of cancer.

How Meat Plays a Factor in Cancer Risk

Meat is a known source of protein, which is considered an integral part of a well-balanced diet. And while meat consumption is not at all considered to be unhealthy, the excess intake of it could put your health at risk especially if they are not balanced with a variety of healthy food, including vegetables. 

Studies have shown that certain meats are linked to cancer risk. Processed meat such as ham, bacon, sausages, and similar other meats fall under Group 1 carcinogen. This makes them strongly linked to cancer risk. Red meats such as pork, beef, lamb, and the like are classified under ‘probable’ causes of cancer, though their effects are indefinite.

Meanwhile, vegetarians – the demographic that does not eat meat but still consumes animal products such as eggs and dairy – have shown to have a low risk of acquiring cancer. Vegans – who have a diet free from all animal products – are at an even lower risk.

Why Plant-Based Diets are Effective in Cancer Prevention

Health Benefits of a Variety of Plants

Plants produce phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help plants resist fungi. When consumes by animals, humans included, they can help fight against bacteria and virus infections. 

Vegetables also have nutrients that the body’s immune system needs in order to protect you from health risks. 

Notably, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, and similar plants are rich in fiber and carotenoids, which play a part in cancer risk reduction. These nutrients are the known fighters against cancers of the mouth, lungs, stomach, larynx, skin, and pancreas. 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are also full of nutritious value. More specifically, it comes with sulforaphane, which is considered to have strong anti-cancer properties. 

Plant-based Protein Reduces Risk

As established, too much meat can cause plenty of complications. While protein is acquired in meat, overconsumption of it can cause inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and potentially cancer. Plant-based diets compensate for the lack of protein in meat by filling up on beans and nuts, which are high in protein and each carries with them a factor that makes them hero foods against cancer risk.

Beans are rich in fiber, which some studies have shown to contribute to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that they did contribute to blocking the development of cancerous cells and tumors in the colon area. However, these studies have been limited to animal testing and need further observation in humans.

Nuts are also wonder-foods when it comes to risk reduction to certain forms of cancer. A study showed that it could possibly prevent the risk of endometrial, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers as well. Some specific nuts also have properties that link it directly to lowering risks. Brazil nuts, for example, have selenium, which can help protect the body against lung cancer. Walnuts were also linked to helping decrease the growth rate of breast cancer. 

Less Calorie Consumption

Obesity has been associated with many forms of cancer. This is often a result of overeating and poor food choices. Vegetables have the ability to make you full despite having fewer calories, which is why they are the go-to diet food for weight watchers. Being at the optimal weight will help reduce one’s chances of acquiring cancer compared to one who is extremely overweight.

How to Incorporate a Plant-Based Diet in your Lifestyle

The extreme switch may be difficult if meat and animal products have been a predominant part of your diet for a very long time. And while vegans have the lowest risk of acquiring cancer, it is not necessary that you have to live this lifestyle if it is too difficult. A ratio worth trying is 80:20, which means eighty percent of your diet would consist of plant-based meals. 

You can start off breakfast with oatmeal, a breakfast salad, or a veggie wrap to set a healthy tone for the rest of the day for your eating habits. Lunch and dinner meals can consist of heartier salads, soups, or usual home-cooked meals with vegetable substitutes. Snack on nuts and incorporate flaxseeds in drinks for the extra source of protein and fiber.

It is also highly recommended to steer clear from processed meat and limit red meat intake. If you were to incorporate meat into a well-balanced diet, fish would be the ideal protein as it is lean and has its own health properties that could help reduce cancer risk.

Alternative Treatment to Cancer

There are more ways than one in helping your body recover from cancer. New Hope Unlimited provides alternative treatments that can help you in your battle with this disease. The facilities and staff provide a more comfortable experience for patients so they may receive treatment in the most comfortable ways possible. Contact us to learn more about our services.


Also Read: Vital Nutrition Tips for Bone Cancer Patients and Survivors

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