Preventing Cancer With a Plant-Based Diet

plant-based diet cancer

Listen up, everyone! This information from Dr. Barnard is sooooo important. Please read it and share it with everyone you know. – AS

There is an urgent need for a new direction in battling cancer. More than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. At least one-third of annual cancer deaths in the United States are due to dietary factors. Let’s look at the steps we can take to build our general defenses.

While animal products contain potentially carcinogenic compounds that may contribute to increased cancer risk, research shows that, by contrast, fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that protect the body.

Several studies published this spring clearly demonstrate the link meat and dairy products have to cancer. According to new data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, participants who ate the most red meat and processed meat increased their risk of dying by 14 and 44 percent, respectively, compared with those who ate the least.

Other recent research found that men drinking more than a glass of whole milk per day had double the risk for fatal prostate cancer, compared with men drinking less. And the National Cancer Institute found that women who consumed one or more servings of high-fat dairy products per day, compared with none to less than half a serving, were at a 49 percent increased risk for dying from breast cancer.

Fortunately, the foods we eat can also help protect our bodies. The American Association for Cancer Research found that beyond the reduced risk for overall cancer, vegetarian and vegan diets significantly reduced the risk of gastrointestinal cancers (stomach, colon, pancreas, etc.) and female-specific cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, etc.), respectively.

The more naturally colorful your meal is, the more likely it is to have an abundance of cancer-fighting nutrients. Pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors represent a variety of protective compounds.

  • Red foods such as tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, and guava contain lycopene, an antioxidant that cuts prostate cancer risk.
  • Orange foods such as carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, mangos, and pumpkins contain beta-carotene that supports the immune system.
  • Yellow-orange foods such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, papayas, and peaches contain vitamin C and flavonoids that inhibit tumor cell growth and detoxify harmful substances.
  • Green foods such as spinach, kale, collards, and other greens contain folate (the same word derivation as foliage) that builds healthy cells and genetic material.
  • Green-white foods such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower contain indoles and lutein that eliminate excess estrogen and carcinogens.
  •  White-green foods such as garlic, onions, chives, and asparagus contain allyl sulfides that destroy cancer cells, reduce cell division, and support the immune system.
  • Blue foods such as blueberries, purple grapes, and plums contain anthocyanins that destroy free radicals.
  • Red-purple foods such as grapes, berries, and plums contain resveratrol that may decrease estrogen production.
  • Brown foods such as whole grains and legumes contain fiber that aids in carcinogen removal.

To learn more about the power of a plant-based diet to prevent cancer or to download the Nutrition Rainbow poster, visit CancerProject.org.

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About Dr. Neal Barnard: Clinical researcher and author Neal Barnard, M.D., is one of America’s leading advocates for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research. As the principal investigator of several human clinical research trials, whose results are published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, Dr. Barnard has examined key issues in health and nutrition. Neal Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). For more about Dr. Neal Barnard, visit his website nealbarnard.org

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