Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and research shows that roughly 39.5 percent of people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
Numerous factors influence one’s risk of developing cancer, including their diet and the types of foods they consume or avoid. For example, a diet rich in vegetables has been linked to a decreased cancer risk.
Find out why vegetables help to reduce your chances of developing cancer, as well as which vegetables offer the most benefits, in this guide.
Vegetables and Cancer Risk
The National Cancer Institute notes that several types of cancer are associated with fruit and vegetable consumption, including the following:
- Lung and bronchial
- Oral cavity and pharyngeal
Fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of these and other cancer types, in part because they are good sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Antioxidants are substances that prevent or delay cell damage caused by oxidative stress (which is caused by free radicals). Well-known antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Phytochemicals are chemicals produced by plants. Research shows that they can stop the formation of carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), prevent carcinogens from attacking cells, and assist cells in stopping changes associated with cancer.
Well-known phytochemicals include carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, polyphenols, and isothiocyanates.
Cancer-Fighting Vegetables to Add to Your Diet
No one dietary change will prevent you from developing cancer. However, adding more vegetables to your diet is a simple way to support your body and lower your risk.
The following are some of the top cancer-fighting vegetables to start consuming more often:
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and an excellent source of sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is a compound known for boosting protective enzyme levels and helping the body eliminate cancer-causing chemicals. Some research also shows that sulforaphane targets cancer stem cells, which contribute to tumor growth.
Broccoli also contains antioxidants like vitamin C, which helps to reduce cellular damage, and carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and violaxanthin.
Kale is another cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetable to add to your menu. It is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K.
Some research shows a link between higher vitamin K consumption and a reduced risk of developing or dying from cancer — specifically prostate and lung cancers.
Carrots provide a healthy dose of vitamin A, which has antioxidant properties, and carotenoids like beta-carotene, which can protect cell membranes and slow the growth of cancer cells.
Phytochemicals in carrots are also associated with a decreased risk of mouth, esophageal, and stomach cancer. Some studies also suggest carrots can protect against cervical cancer because they provide antioxidants that fight the human papillomavirus (the primary cause of vertical cancer).
Garlic doesn’t just add flavor to your food. It also has cancer-fighting properties.
Garlic contains an active component called allicin, which has been shown to kill cancer cells.
Ginger is another healthy spice for those looking to reduce their cancer risk. It contains compounds associated with several types of cancers, including stomach cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and even cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer).
Some of the most beneficial compounds in ginger include gingerol, shogaol, and paradol. These compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties.
Tomatoes are technically a fruit, but they’re so full of beneficial nutrients that we had to include them on this list.
Tomatoes get their vibrant red color from the compound lycopene, which is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. They’re good sources of vitamin C and vitamin K, too.
What Not to Eat (or Drink)
It’s true that eating the vegetables listed above can help to lower your cancer risk. However, to further support your health, you should also avoid or reduce your intake of other foods, including these:
Fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, etc.) contain large amounts of unhealthy fats (specifically, trans fats), starches, and sugars. These ingredients are associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other issues that increase your risk of developing various cancers.
High-Sugar Foods and Drinks
High sugar intake from soda, flavored coffees, candy, and baked goods may also increase your risk of developing cancer. Sugar does not directly cause cancer, but it may contribute to weight gain and other health issues that do increase your chances of a cancer diagnosis.
Alcohol intake has been strongly correlated with cancer, including mouth, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, liver, colorectal, and breast cancer. For every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, the risk of these cancers increases by 4-25 percent.
Processed and Red Meat
Processed meat (bacon, sausage, hot dogs, etc.) and red meat (beef) can also increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
The same article linked above reveals that for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed per day, the risk of colorectal cancer increases by 16 percent. The risk increases by 12 percent for every 100 grams of red meat consumed per day.
Increase Your Veggie Intake with Substance
You’ve heard a million times that eating more vegetables will help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life. If you want to enjoy all the benefits discussed in this guide (including a decreased risk of cancer), start adding more veggies to your diet today.
If you’re not interested in (or don’t have time to) buying, preparing, and eating fresh vegetables every day, you’re in luck. Thanks to Substance Health’s Nature’s Sustenance supplement, you can still enjoy all their benefits.
These capsules make it easier than ever to meet or exceed your daily vegetable goal more manageable than ever. They feature over 20 different fruits, vegetables, and greens that support your body and help it function at its peak.
Order your first bottle today and get ready to experience the difference.