See How Diet Influence the Development of Cancer

What you eat can have a big impact on your risk of developing cancer.

One of the biggest risk factors for cancer is being overweight or obese. Eating 'fast foods' (such as chips and fried chicken) or other processed foods that are high in fat and sugar (like chocolate, crisps, and biscuits) can make you gain weight, and there is strong evidence that being overweight or obese is a cause of 12 types of cancer.

However, diets that are high in plant foods – such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans – can help you stay a healthy weight, and may also protect against certain cancers.
See How Diet Influence the Development of Cancer
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Approximately one-third of all cancers may be linked to diet.

A damaged cell needs to replicate in order to grow into a group of cancer cells. Some substances in our diet may either encourage the replication process and promote cancer growth or slow it down, so protecting against cancer.

Like there is a higher incidence of cancer of the stomach and esophagus are much less common where the typical diet is high in cereals, tubers, and starchy foods – often providing half of the dietary energy needs – but low in animal proteins (meat and dairy products). Diets in developed countries tend to be high in animal proteins, sugar, and salt, but low in starches.

This is how diet influences the development of cancer;

  • Carcinogenic agents: These agents may directly influence DNA or protein in cells. Examples include Alfa toxins, which are found in moldy food, alcohol, and certain compounds produced by some cooking and food-processing methods.
  • Tumor promoters:  Unlike carcinogens, tumor promoters do not act directly on DNA, but stimulate the genes and encourage replication. Some hormones may act in this way, and although the body produces these hormones naturally, diet can affect the level of, for example, estrogens in the body. Other tumor promoters include alcohol and a high-fat or high-energy diet, which may promote the production of harmful substances, such as free radicals. Free radicals are thought to influence DNA disorganization.
But, just as we may introduce harmful elements into our bodies through our diet, there are also nutrients that may protect us.
  • Protective nutrients: Many foods contain protective substances that may reduce damage to tissues by free radicals, or potentially reduce cell growth.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants are essential constituents of the diet and are involved in DNA and cell maintenance and repair. They may reduce the production of free radicals, preventing early damage to cells and so reduce the chance that they will become cancerous. Antioxidants in the diet may be in the form of vitamins or minerals, such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and selenium, or they may be found in flavonoids in vegetables.
  • Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens have properties similar to estrogens, but they are much weaker than the estrogens the body itself produces. They can be divided primarily into two groups: isoflavones and lignans. Isoflavones are linked to the proteins part of food and lignans to the fiber.
  • Other bioactive compounds: Many foods have functions beyond the vitamins and minerals they contain. Research is revealing that some of the experiments, for example, garlic extracts have killed Heliobacter pylori, a bacteria that can grow in the stomach and is known to increase the risk of cancer. Sulfur-containing compounds in garlic and onions may also reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds that arise from the curing of meats.
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