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World Cancer Day: What you need to eat to prevent cancer

On the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4, we have rounded up some of the key foods to include in your diet that could help ward off cancer, as well as promote general health and well-being.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 04, 2016 12:05 IST
World Cancer Day

On the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4, we have rounded up some of the key foods to include in your diet that could help ward off cancer, as well as promote general health and well-being. (AFP)

Many recent studies have shown the important role our diet plays in everyday health, and in the prevention of cancer. On the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4, we have rounded up some of the key foods to include in your diet that could help ward off cancer, as well as promote general health and well-being.

Read: If you’re tall, you’re prone to cancer, diabetes risk low

A large study published last month which looked at over 90,000 women found that eating a high-fiber diet in early adulthood, which included plenty of fruit and vegetables, could lower the risk of breast cancer in later life by 12 to 19% compared to those who ate much less or no dietary fiber at all.

A high-fiber diet full of vegetables could help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. (Shutterstock)

A 2015 American study also found that fiber can be beneficial, with the study’s results suggesting that prostate cancer patients can improve their chances of survival by following a Mediterranean-style diet full of fruit, vegetables and fiber.

Read: Higher cancer risk among twins, siblings

And a 2015 Chinese study found that eating white vegetables such as potatoes, asparagus, chard, celery, cauliflower, endive and leek, was associated with a 33% reduction in the risk of developing stomach cancer. The same study also found that eating fruit helped to reduce the risk by 7%.

Recent studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking could help prevent the return of cancers such as colon and breast cancer. (Shutterstock)

Enjoying a daily coffee could help as well, with numerous studies showing the health benefits of drinking your morning cup of joe. A 2015 study of 1000 colon cancer patients found that coffee lovers who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 42% less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and 34% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.

Read: Air pollution, tobacco top cancer causes in India

A 2015 Swedish study also found similar results, with breast cancer patients who drank between two and five cups of coffee per day half as likely to experience a return of the disease compared to those who drank no coffee or less than two cups.

Previous research has found that eating a portion of oily fish such as tuna, salmon, or sardines one-two times a week can reduce the risk of breast cancer. (Shutterstock)

Good fats found in foods such as oily fish could also be beneficial, with a review of 26 previous studies covering more than 800,000 participants finding that eating a portion of oily fish such as tuna, salmon, or sardines one to two times a week can reduce the risk of breast cancer. And a 2013 study involving 4,577 prostate cancer patients found that those who changed their diet to include more good fats -- the type found in foods such as vegetables, nuts and olive oil -- had a better survival rate than those whose diets remained unchanged.

Read: Even smokers who quit 15 years ago at high risk of lung cancer

And for what you should try to avoid, well sugar seems to play a part in many health problems, including cancer, with a study published only last month finding that high levels of sugar, typical in a modern Western diet, could be associated with increasing the risk and spread of breast cancer.

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