About 40% of cancers can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyles and eating in a healthy and balanced way: experts who have been studying the role of nutrition in cancer prevention and treatment for decades have no doubts about this. Studies on the subject are not lacking and range from epidemiological research (i.e. based on the observation of diseases that appear or persist in a population) to the most recent and sophisticated molecular analyzes, aimed at identifying the effect of individual elements contained in the diet both on prevention and on the onset and progression of cancer. Obviously no food is redeeming so nothing can guarantee immunity from cancer, but thanks to certain substances and properties of which they are made, these foods can guarantee to counteract the possible spread of tumors and help in healing.
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Tumors, here are the friendly foods
Among these, the “list” of foods to be eaten by the experts of the Italian Society of Andrology (SIA) has arrived: to prevent and fight cancer, antioxidants must be taken in the daily diet. Established that there is no “superfood” that alone can prevent or cure cancer sThere are undoubtedly foods rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, which are found above all in fruit and vegetables, which as a whole and for their various properties are considered “health-friendly”. Other foods, on the other hand, should be avoided (alcohol) or consumed to a limited extent (red meat and sausages) because they contain substances considered carcinogenic if consumed in large quantities. But no food on its own can be considered sufficient to prevent or cause cancer.
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Beneficial foods for prostate cancer
Research shows in particular 5 foods that have a beneficial effect in defending the human body especially from a type of tumor: that of the prostate in men. According to LILT data, 36 thousand new cases of prostate cancer are identified every year in Italy and with these numbers it can be said that this is the most widespread form of cancer among Italian men. there are age, alcohol abuse and foods that contain saturated fat. With an early diagnosis the cure rate is 90%, but the real difficulty in this pathology is the ability to diagnose: this tumor does not show specific symptoms and men are more reluctant to undergo periodic screening.
But research now reveals that there are some foods that contain substances that can effectively prevent the onset of prostate cancer.
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And if scientists say they are confident that in 5-10 years we will arrive at a vaccine for tumors, now the list of “shield foods” against prostate cancer: that’s what they are. Green tea (rich in epigallocatechins, highly antioxidant substances that reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 60%, and by 80% if taken for 2 consecutive years), tomato (natural source of lycopenes, molecules with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power that are better absorbed by the intestine when food is cooked and whose presence in the blood reduces the possibility of getting sick from 12% to 26%), grapes (containing high percentages of resveratrol, a molecule with an antioxidant action and capable of inhibiting, through blocking factors, the progression of tumor pathology), peanuts (recently discovered as sources, together with blueberries, of pterostilbene, a powerful antioxidant with formidable preventive properties) and finally the pomegranate (contains ellagic acid, which has been shown to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy in patients with prostate cancer).
Foods that must be included in the daily diet, it is LILT that underlines how prevention begins at the table.
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The benefits of garlic
In addition to the 5 “shield foods” there are others whose healing properties are universally recognized. Among all, for example, garlic which is recognized as a natural antibiotic. Garlic is great for strengthening the immune system, blood pressure regulator, intestinal flora balancer, shield against heavy metals, source of minerals, vitamins and active ingredients. As claimed by a study by the National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, Maryland, allium sativum, a herbaceous plant belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family, is in fact rich in allin, an active ingredient which, like leeks, onions and shallots, transforming into allicin a following the breakdown of its own molecules it generates various substances that are beneficial for our body. Among these, some are extraordinary anticancer agents capable of inhibiting the action of carcinogens that can form inside food. Given all the beneficial effects of garlic, this food is especially preventative for tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. LILT recommends taking a raw clove a day but the condemnation is not to abuse it: too much garlic could cause irritation and damage to the intestinal walls.
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The diets to follow
Here are the guidelines for a correct diet to fight cancer: the ideal is the low-calorie diet and the hypoglycemic diet because with these regimens the levels of glucose in the blood are reduced and thus the immune system is activated in the fight against cancer.
The latest study in this field was conducted by the Irccs National Cancer Institute Foundation, in collaboration with the Firc Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan. With a clinical trial on 101 cancer patients suffering from neoplasms including breast, colon and lung cancers, the diet to be followed was reached.
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«Strict caloric restriction is well tolerated and linked to positive results in terms of biological response, if implemented by cancer patients, even frail, under the supervision of medical personnel» explains the LILT. An experiment that also laid the foundations for the development of a 5-day hypoglycemic diet scheme, to be followed every 3/4 weeks: a regimen whose application has reduced blood glucose levels in patients, strengthening their immune system and in especially cytotoxic T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells, capable of recognizing and destroying cancer cells.
In addition, among the positive results of the experiment, it emerged that the diet model used was able to reduce the amount of immune system cells linked to the increase in systemic inflammation in response to cancer, which sometimes prevent lymphocytes from carrying out proper functions.
A low-calorie diet based on vegetables, whole foods, extra virgin olive oil and fruit (in limited quantities) therefore favors an activation of the immune system.
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Coenzyme Q10, good or bad against cancer? Leaving the table aside for a moment, another extraordinary antioxidant against cellular aging has always been considered the so-called coenzyme Q10. A recent study by the Department of Biology of the University of Padua and the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine has instead highlighted the criticalities. The evidence that emerged from the research, in fact, overturns the positive role of the well-known molecule Q10, inserting it among the factors involved in the proliferation and survival process of cutaneous melanoma.. Cancer cells naturally produce a certain number of oxygen-containing molecules, which over time leads to oxidation and consequently to cell death. To overcome this drawback, the cells of melanoma, which constitutes 5% of all forms of cancer and is in third place in the ranking of cancer mortality, exploits specific antioxidant mechanisms of Coenzyme Q10 to reduce the levels of oxidative stress. The coenzyme – explains LILT – is therefore used by cancer as a nourishment capable of keeping oxidative stress below a certain threshold, thus ensuring that the diseased cells survive for as long as possible.
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As experts often remind, to follow a healthy diet you need to pay attention not only to what you avoid, but also to what you eat. Although, as already mentioned, there are no foods to consider anti-tumor foods, researchers have identified some rich in substances that can still help in prevention and that should find a privileged place on the plate. Here are some taken from a list provided by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
Mele: the fibers and polyphenols contained in these fruits could cooperate with the microbes present in the intestine (microbiota), increasing the body’s defenses against cancer.
Blueberries: known above all for their antioxidant power, they contain numerous protective molecules such as fiber, vitamin C, flavonols, tannins, anthocyanins and many more.
crucify (broccoli, cabbage, etc.): also rich in fiber, vitamin C, folate and antioxidants including carotenoids (especially beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin in broccoli).
Tomatoes: very rich in lycopene (a type of carotenoid), as well as vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Legumes: particularly important for their content in fibers and polyphenols. Soy: one of the few plant foods that contains all the amino acids the body needs to build proteins. Tea: in particular green tea, rich in molecules called catechins. To these are also added grapes, oranges, garlic, flax seeds, strawberries, spinach, nuts, and many other foods.
AIRC also gives us a series of recommendations for a healthy and balanced diet that helps prevent cancer.
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Maintain a normal weight. Extra pounds have been associated with the development of 13 cancers and the list includes two of the most common cancers (breast and colorectal), some of the most difficult to treat (pancreas, esophagus and gallbladder), but also gynecological cancers (uterus and ovary), liver, kidney and stomach cancers, myeloma, meningioma and thyroid cancer.
Consume whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. 5 portions a day of fruit and vegetables should be taken and it is better to vary the foods consumed as much as possible.
Limit the consumption of so-called “fast food”. They are often too high in fat, sugar and salt.
Limit your consumption of red and processed meat. Attention, experts do not say to completely eliminate meat, which remains a valid source of nutrients, in particular proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
Limit your consumption of sugary drinks. Too many “empty” calories that increase weight more easily and therefore the risk of cancer.
Limit your alcohol consumption. To further reduce the risk of getting sick, it would be better not to consume it at all.
Don’t base your diet on supplements (supplements). For most people, a healthy and varied diet is more effective than supplements for preventing cancer.