17. A plant-based substance that can reduce your risk of cancer.
You may have never heard of phytochemicals before. They are a substance that can be found in plant-based foods. Some experts even believe that they can help reduce your risk of some cancers. They can also help support heart, brain, and bone health too. Common types of phytochemicals are folic acid and vitamin C, which you may very well have heard of. Some less common types of phytochemicals are flavonoids, phytosterols, and isoflavones. There are others, which you probably never have heard of.
You might already eat phytochemicals quite often without even knowing it. There are quite a bit of plant-based foods that phytochemical can be found in; some include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, peas, beans, whole grains, nuts, flaxseed, and grapefruit. If you don’t eat many of these things in your daily diet, it may be a good idea to start adding them to your meals. It’s not hard to add them in, even as a side or for flavor to the main dish. Some of these things can make for a healthy snack, too.
16. Phytochemicals are important for your diet — here’s why!
While we all know that no one specific food can help prevent cancer risk, it is good to know that you can get the most protection by eating a variety of plant-based foods. The more you eat, the better chance you have against different health risks, and the healthier you may be helping yourself to be. More research needs to be done to determine just how phytochemicals exactly work, but what most researchers agree on is their benefits.
Some potential benefits of phytochemicals include strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation, and regulating hormones. A few other advantages they may have for you include preventing damaged cells from reproducing, which seems essential—foods with this chemical help slow cancer cell growth. Furthermore, phytochemicals aid in preventing DNA damage and helping DNA repair. It’s safe to say that phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, are quite essential to add to your daily diet if you don’t already include them. Eating a high number of fruits and vegetables will help guarantee that you’re getting an increased number of phytochemicals.
To get more in-depth with phytochemicals, there are various types of phytochemicals. And each one helps your body out in a different way. The first one would be carotenoids. Now you may have heard of beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. They’re all types of carotenoids. Carotenoids inhibit cancer growth, support vision, improve immunity and promote skin health. They can be found in carrots, cooked tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, winter squash, oranges, and watermelons. There’s a variety of foods to choose from if you’re in search of these types of phytochemicals.
Flavonoids are another type of phytochemicals, and anthocyanins, quercetin, and catechins are all types of flavonoids. They inhibit tumor growth, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation. Some flavonoids would be coffee, apples, onions, tea, soybeans, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Like other phytochemicals, indoles and glucosinolates can help lower your cancer risk as well. They are known to decrease the production of cancer-related hormones and prevent tumor growth. They can be found in cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
14. Introduce a few more types of phytochemicals to your diet.
There are a few more phytochemicals to add to the list here, as well. So another would be inositol, and phytic acid is a type of inositol. Inositols prevent cell damage and can be found in bran from oats, rice, rye, wheat, and corn, as well as soybeans and buts. While mentioning where it can be found, it is essential to remember that phytochemicals aren’t just found in vegetables and fruits. They can be found in all plant-based foods.
Like glucosinolates and indoles, isoflavones inhibit tumor growth and limit the production of cancer-related hormones. They can be typically found in soybeans and other soy products. Polyphenols are another, in which there are two types of ellagic acid and resveratrol. They can both prevent inflammation and cancer formation. They are typically found in grapes, green tea, wine, citrus fruits, apples, berries, whole grains, and peanuts. When it comes to phytochemicals, the key is to get them from whole foods, not supplements, so be sure you are eating various vegetables and fruits daily.
Instead of reading for a fruit snack or something else sugary and unhealthy for you, why not have some berries? Not only are they delicious, but they are quite good for you, too. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, and most berries also contain antioxidants. Studies also show that these antioxidants help protect the body against cell damage that could lead to skin cancer and cancers of the bladder, breast, lung, and esophagus. Not only are they good for you, but there’s also many to choose from.
Along with having many different types of berries to choose from, you also have various ways to choose from on how to eat them. You can eat them fresh, dried, or even frozen. If new, make sure you rinse or wash them off first before eating them, in any case. You can put berries in yogurt or cereal for some added flavor. Alternatively, try it even in muffins or your oatmeal for a boost in the morning. Even for a quick and healthy snack, make a low-fat strawberry smoothie.
Grapes are also a rich source of the antioxidant resveratrol, but the skin has the most antioxidants, so be sure to leave the grape intact when eating it. Studies show that resveratrol can potentially stop cancer from starting in the liver, stomach, breast, and lymphatic systems. Moreover, in case you were wondering if it mattered what grapes were better, go for the red or purple grapes. They have significantly more resveratrol than green grapes do. They also tend to be sweeter too, which is usually a crowd favorite.
To add grapes to your daily diet, here’s some simple tips. Grab a handful as a snack as you walk out the door. Alternatively, fill up a baggy to put in your pocket and munch on throughout the day. You could add some to a salad to add a little sweetness to it. Some people like to add grapes to their favorite low-fat chicken salad recipe. On a hot day, you can freeze them and snack on them in place of a sugary popsicle. You can add them to some of your other hot dishes as well.
11. Try adding healthier grain products to your diet.
Although grocery store shelves may be filled with grains and grain products, it doesn’t mean that they are all great for your health. Try to change up your diet a bit by switching to whole grains. Whole grains are loaded with vitamins, fiber, minerals, and plant compounds, which may help curb your cancer risk. Why wouldn’t you not only want to try to eat healthier but also try to reduce the risk of getting cancer if you could? All it takes is a few simple changes, starting at the grocery store.
Not only are whole grains better for you for many reasons, but the fiber found in them helps you stay full longer, helping you not to eat as frequently. Not eating as often will help you to maintain a healthy weight and help keep your cholesterol and blood sugars more stable, too. Try to include brown rice, whole wheat bread, pasta, and wild rice in your diet. Try quinoa as well, because of all the grains. It packs the most protein. Another easy way to sneak in some extra grains would be to add oatmeal to your breakfast.
As a kid, your parents may have told you that your broccoli was mini trees and to pretend you were a giant eating them. Although, that might not have been a conversation in many households. However, we all know that our parents tried to get us to eat broccoli growing up and would tell us just how important it was to eat it; they were right. These mighty greens are in the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale. All healthy vegetables, as well.
Studies show that broccoli and its family members have unique plant compounds that may protect our bodies from stomach cancer, as well as cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus. Because broccoli takes on the flavor of whatever spice or sauce you prepare it with, it’s easy to add it to whatever dish you make. If you don’t feel like adding it to a meal, you can have it on the side. Just add your favorite spices to steamed broccoli for a great side dish. A good afternoon snack could be some raw broccoli dipped into some fat-free ranch dressing.
Ever wonder how a tomato gets so red, even though it starts as green? Well, the tomato gets its classic red hue from an antioxidant called lycopene. Some studies have shown that lycopene has the potential even to fight prostate cancer. The evidence is even stronger for processed tomato products, such as tomato sauce and even ketchup. That is a surprise since it has the word “processed” right in the description. So that leads us to ask this next question, how is that possible?
As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. By processing the tomato, it ups its health-boosting power because it releases the lycopene so the body can more easily absorb it. So it is safe to say that you don’t have to just bite into a raw tomato to snack on in the hope of getting its health advantages. Adding some savory tomato sauce to a pasta dish or ketchup to a meal can have some of the same benefits, and maybe even a little bit more.
Do you like lemons, lime, or oranges? Then here is some good news for you! Research suggests that by adding citrus fruits to your diet, you may significantly reduce your risk of esophageal cancer. Another great thing about citrus fruits was that a greater intake of them was linked to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. Not only can they help prevent esophageal cancer, but they can also help lower the risk of pancreatic cancer.
That’s not all, either! Another review showed that if you eat at least three servings of citrus fruits a week or more, you reduce stomach cancer risk by 28%. So if you know that you are more at risk of getting these types of cancer, start eating up those citrus fruits. To make sure you are eating enough, you can try putting some lemon slices in your water or tea, dressing up your salad with lime, or trying adding grapefruit to go along with your breakfast. An orange makes for a delicious snack, as well.
7. Carrots aren’t just good for the eyes — add them to your diet to help prevent cancer.
Our parents always told us to eat our vegetables, especially carrots, since they are suitable for our eyes. Furthermore, although they may not help us see in the dark, although that would be pretty amazing, there is suggestive evidence that carrots can help lower the risk of cervical cancer. So if you are a woman who is at higher risk of getting cervical cancer, it may be a good idea to start adding carrots to your daily diet if you have not done so already.
Carrots are high in vitamin A and antioxidants and high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. Keeping regular in the bathroom can help minimize the risk of bowel cancer, as well. To make sure that you are eating enough carrots, there are plenty of ways you can sneak them into your diet. Try eating them as snacks, in a stick form dipped in hummus, or a low-fat dressing or dip. You can also add them to any dish, or like broccoli. They go well as a side dish steamed with your favorite seasoning, too.
6. Foods might cause stinky breath, but they help to keep you healthier.
According to research done by the Cancer Council Australia, high levels of allium vegetables, vegetables such as garlic, onions, and shallots reduce stomach cancer risk. They state that garlic just might help protect us against bowel cancer, as well. That’s because not only does garlic add flavor to many of your meals and taste delicious, but it is also anti-carcinogenic. Meaning it has to do with the delaying and prevention of the development of cancer. Take that vampires – we won’t just be eating it to keep you away anymore!
There are plenty of ways to add more garlic into your diet, by making homemade and fresh dishes for your lunches and dinner, rather than store-bought, ready-to-eat meals. Not only is it healthier, but it also makes it easier to add things, such as garlic, into the recipe, without feeling that it’s being forced into it. Meals like oven-baked fish or chicken dishes can be made using plenty of garlic, as well as meals like stir-fries and soups.
There is an antioxidant called lutein that is good for your eyes. Furthermore, although research is by no means confirmed, lutein may also play a role in guarding against cancer. Spinach is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that help remove unstable molecules called free radicals from your body before they damage it. Not only are they found in spinach, but in other dark and leafy vegetables, as well. Some studies show that they could help protect against cancer of the mouth, stomach, and esophagus.
Talk about a nutritional powerhouse in every dark green leaf you eat; they also have folate and fiber, which researchers think might lower the risks of certain cancers too. Folate helps your body repair DNA and produce new cells and is especially important in women of childbearing age because it can even prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus. To get the most lutein from your spinach, you will want to eat it raw or lightly cooked. Steamed, sautéed, in a salad, or soup are just a few great ways to incorporate it into your diet.
Most of us have probably heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and that is relatively true, believe it or not. Not only are apples quite delicious, but they are very healthy for you, too. Apples contain polyphenols, which are compounds naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and some researchers suggest that polyphenols have promising anticancer and tumor-fighting properties. Polyphenols may also help to prevent inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and infections, as well.
As just one example, the polyphenol phloretin inhibits a protein called glucose transporter 2, or GLUT2, which plays a role in advanced staged cell growth in specific cancer types. A study done in 2018 in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis suggests that apple phloretin significantly inhibits breast cancer cells’ growth while not affecting normal cells. So it is safe to say that if you are at high risk of cancer or any other illness, an apple a day can help keep the doctor away. Plus, apples make a delicious and healthy snack.
3. Dietary supplements won’t help lower the risk of cancer.
Many of us may think that taking dietary supplements will lower the risk of cancer, on top of helping us get other nutrients we may be lacking. However, the marketing claims against cancer have not likely been proven yet, because no proof shows that multivitamins help reduce your risk of cancer. It’s also important to remember to talk with your doctor before adding supplements or herbs to your diet. You could be putting yourself at risk for new health problems when making extreme changes to your diet quickly.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that you do not take vitamin E or beta carotene to help prevent cancer. People who smoke or have a high risk for lung cancer should not take beta carotene at all. That is because it can increase the risk of lung cancer. That is why it is imperative to speak with your doctor about adding any supplements to your daily diet before doing so. So that they can make sure you are making a healthy and safe decision.
While maintaining a healthy weight is very important, participating in physical activity is just as important. Physical activity on its own may even help lower your risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. On top of it helping to reduce your risk of cancer, it is also good for your body and joints to be active. You do not have to have access to the outside to do some physical activities, either. Walking in place or doing squats during a commercial break is better than sitting around on the couch and not moving around at all.
Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, as well. However, it will take more than just walking around the block one time to have any effect. For substantial health benefits, try to get around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity in a week or about 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise in a week. You can also do a combination of both. Try to make a goal for yourself that includes 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. Of course, if you just so happen to do more, then that is even better.
We all know that smoking cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, but there are, of course, other cancers that have been linked to the use of tobacco products, as well. Using any type of tobacco, whether it’s smoking or chewing, puts you on a collision course with cancer in the future. The various types of cancer that have been linked to smoking include lung, mouth, through, larynx, bladder, cervix, kidney, and pancreas. Chewing tobacco has been linked to oral cavity cancer and pancreatic cancer. As you know, though, there are obvious ways to prevent these cancers from occurring due to tobacco exposure.
Secondhand smoke is a real thing, too, and even if you do not use any sort of tobacco product yourself, exposure to secondhand smoke may increase your risk of lung cancer, as well. It is safe to say that if you smoke, quitting is something you should take into consideration. Talk with your doctor about options on how to stop. Not only will it help your help out, but it will also help you to be able to taste things better. If you’re not eating healthy and are a cigarette smoker, it may be because the tobacco is ruining your taste buds. Do you want to learn more about immune-boosting foods you can add to your diet? It’s important to understand how diets can make you feel strong, healthy, and happy!