Some eating habits, such as eating plenty of vegetables, reduce the risk of cancer, while others, such as using a lot of meat products, increase it.
Diet is a whole entity that is made up of individual, everyday choices. Even small decisions are accentuated in the long run.
It is ultimately difficult to estimate the degree to which having a healthy diet can prevent cancer, or how far unhealthy eating furthers the development of cancer. Eating involves many things, from food ingredients to eating habits and weight management. Calculating these things together is not straightforward.
However, experts have estimated that, by and large, with healthy food, weight management, and enough exercise we can prevent at least a third of the most common forms of cancer. Healthy eating also protects against many illnesses and helps you manage better day-to-day.
What kind of cancer does food protects us from, and what kind does it cause?
What and how we eat is linked to many cancer risks.
Eating affects the risk of cancer through many different mechanisms:
- Some nutritional factors, such as meat products, can place one at risk of cancer
- Carcinogens may be present in food due to contamination or impurities, for instance some aflatoxins, produced by moulds, that may also be in such things as nuts
- Carcinogenic compounds may develop in food preparation, such as frying
- Absent or insufficient nutritional factors in diet that protect against cancer, such as vegetables
- Overweight increases the risk of certain types of cancer. Nutrition is an essential factor in weigh management
- Your overall diet is nevertheless more essential than single nutrients.