Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases affecting the human and animals, caused due to uncontrolled cell growth with a nature to spread rapidly to several organs. In this post let us know in detail on how to prevent cancer with naturally available foods and also on what is cancer, cancer causes, cancer symptoms and its prevention.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases affecting the human and animals, caused due to uncontrolled cell growth with a nature to spread rapidly to several organs. It affects every organ of the body causing its dysfunction and ultimately killing the affected individual.
It is estimated by WHO that cancer is responsible for 12% deaths among 50 million deaths globally. Further it is also predicted that cancer would increase by 50% to 15 million deaths by 2020.
Cancer in advanced stage is undoubtedly fatal. However majority of cases of cancer can be prevented by changing the life style, eating habits, smoking and preventing some of the infectious diseases.
What are the Common causes of Cancer?
Cells in the body function normally due to a particular gene which controls the cell division. Some times due to some hereditary predisposition or continuous exposure to certain carcinogenic agents the controlling capacity of the gene is altered. Then the cells divide uncontrollably and continuously. With the result the cells grow into a tumor or cancer.
This is one of the main reasons for development of cancer. Age is another factor responsible for development of cancer. As age advances the cells become weak and the DNA starts getting damaged. This results in predisposition for cancerous growth. Infections with some viruses like Human Papilloma virus causing cervical cancer, Hepatitis B and C viruses causing Liver cancer, Viruses like HIV or any virus which suppress immune system of the body can predispose for development of cancer.
Continuous exposure to carcinogenic agents like tobacco, radiation, sun, arsenic and environmental pollutants released from the factories and vehicles can result in the development of cancer. Chewing of tobacco and smoking cigars with the burning part inside mouth (Reverse side) are found to produce oral cancer. Drinking alcohol also predisposes breast cancer in women by 8%. It may be due to causing mammary DNA damage and increasing the susceptibility to carcinogenic substances.
What are the Symptoms of Cancer?
The symptoms of cancer vary according to which organ it is affected. However there are certain common symptoms. They are
- Swelling of the organ
- Bleeding and pain
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Emaciation and weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue Depression
How to Prevent Cancer naturally?
After understanding the causes of cancer one can think that cancer can be prevented by proper lifestyle, habits and with a good diet. There are several fruits and vegetables available, if used can boost the body’s immune system and thereby prevent the damage of the cellular integrity. Besides this, yoga, meditation, exercise and positive thinking can also help the body to boost the immunity.
Smoking, chewing tobacco eating gutka have an adverse effect and act as potential carcinogenic agents. Obesity also predisposes to several health problems including cancer. Addiction to alcohol also increases the risk for an attack of cancer by weakening the body’s defense mechanism. So let us see the linkages between these and cancer so that prevention of cancer can be understood easily.
Smoking, chewing tobacco and alcohol addiction:
Cigarette smoking is harmful to the health of the smoker as well as the non smokers. It contains nicotine and several toxic materials which are potentially dangerous and produces cancer. These chemicals act as carcinogenic materials and their constant usage cause damage to the cell’s DNA resulting in abnormal cell growth. Smoking causes cancer of the lungs, esophagus, Larynx, mouth etc.
Therefore stopping of smoking and chewing of tobacco reduces the chances of cancer attack not only in smokers as well as in nearby non smokers also. Alcohol addiction also increases the risk of the cancer of the breast in women by sensitizing the mammary tissue to the action of the carcinogenic agents. Therefore avoiding alcohol reduces the risk of cancer.
Hereditary predisposition and age:
Persons who are having hereditary predisposition should be more careful in maintaining their health and lifestyle. Periodic testing helps to identify and prevent cancers in the early stages or to undergo treatment. Similarly aged people also should be more careful and take good food, fruits and vegetable to boost their immunity and strength due to weakening of the body’s immune system.
Exposure to radiation and sun:
Radiation is a type of energy coming out of ‘X-rays, and sun in the form of light and heat constantly passing to our bodies. But all radiations are not carcinogenic. Only the high frequency ionizing radiations which possess the capacity to damage the DNA in the cells can produce cancer. Where as non ionizing radiation which is in low frequency cannot produce cancer. The non ionizing radiations are visible light, micro waves, infra-red rays and radio waves. There is no evidence that low energy UV rays can be a cancer risk. The difference should be clearly understood. Ionizing radiation is a proven carcinogenic and can cause severe damage to DNA and result in cancer. Ionizing radiation can cause cancer in the thyroid glad, radiation leukemia and several other cancers. Therefore care should be taken to prevent exposure to radiations particularly those dealing with these like ‘X’ ray assistants and radiologists. Pregnant women should not get exposed to radiation due to the risk for the child. Prolonged exposure to the sun also causes skin cancer which can be prevented provided adequate care is taken to protect from the sun. Application of sun screen lotions by people who constantly stand in the sun reduces the risk of cancer.
Infectious diseases and Cancer:
The incidence of cancer world wide is estimated to be 15%- to 20% to be due to infections and infectious diseases only. Viruses like Human Papilloma virus and Hepatitis virus are known to produce cancer of the cervix and liver. Vaccinations are available now against these diseases and hence can be prevented. People having a family history and those exposing to these diseases should get vaccinated.
What are the Foods that prevent Cancer?
There are several foods, fruits, vegetables and herbs that can prevent cancer by boosting body’s immune system. The following are some such foods.
Garlic: It is a very common spice in the Indian food preparations and it may be wonder to think food preparation without this additive. Research showed that garlic has got an enormous affect in slowing the growth of cancer cells and very effective in preventing colon, esophageal and stomach cancers. Garlic contains an active substance called allyl sulfur responsible for arresting the growth of cancer cells. Garlic can be taken along with food as raw garlic gives a pungent smell. Trade preparations are also available now which can also be taken. Garlic is used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing several diseases including cancer.
Broccoli, Cabbage and cauliflower (cruciferous vegetables): These are commonly available vegetables which have got a profound affect on protecting against cancers in the body. They prevent the formation of free radicals and prevent damage to the DNA and help in slowing the growth of cancer tumors. These vegetables contain an active ingredient indole-3 carbinol that can prevent breast cancer. They also contain certain phytochemicals suphoraphane, glucoraphanin known to prevent cancers of the colorectal cancers. These vegetables can be consumed by cooking, steamed, or as a salad.
Tomatoes: A very common fruit but used mostly as a vegetable contains lycopene a powerful antioxidant known to suppress free radicals there by preventing the damage to the DNA. Tomatoes also contain several other useful substances like Vitamins C, E and K A, B1, B2, B6, biotin, folic acid nicotinic acid patothenic acid and minerals potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, Zinc which are the natural boosters of the immune system. Tomatoes are known now to control several cancers and coronary heart diseases due to the high content of lycopene. Tomatoes can be eaten raw, cooked, in the form of salads, soups, ketchups and juices.
Carrots: A common vegetable contains beta carotene able to suppress free radicals and prevent the damage of the DNA and prevent the formation of cancers in several organs. A recent study found that an active ingredient falcarinol found in carrots is responsible for reducing the risk of cancer. It is important to eat the carrots without cooking since there is a risk of damaging the active substance falcarinol.
Green Tea: It is known that green tea contains antioxidants that can capable of freeing free radicals and prevent DNA damage in the cells. The active substances are ‘catechins’ found to act on the tumors and produce shrinkage. Both green tea and black tea contain catechins bur green tea contain mare of them.
Avocados: A pear shaped fruit a rich source of glutathione an antioxidant that controls formation of free radicals in the body. It also controls cholesterol by blocking absorption of fats. They contain higher levels of potassium and beta carotene. Avocados are also found to be useful in treating hepatitis. Due to its high levels of potassium it also controls high blood pressure.
Curcumin: It is obtained from a rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa a tropical plant belonging to the ginger family. The powder made from the dried rhizome is very commonly used in almost all Indian curries. The powder is also used in sacred rituals by Hindus. Curcumin acts as an anti cancer agent by protecting the cells against the entry of toxic chemicals into the cells. It blocks chemicals that mimic like estrogen. These are pesticides DDT and dioxin which are highly toxic and carcinogenic. Curcumin can effectively prevent entry of these chemicals and save from formation of cancer. Curcumin can also kill the cancer cells and protect the body against cancer. It is also an antioxidant and protects against the free radicals.
Whole Grain Diet: whole grains are rich sources of nutrients like folate, niacin, B vitamins, magnesium and fiber. By including these grains in the diet have a lowered risk of cardio vascular diseases, diabetes and colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Whole wheat grains and brown rice are good sources of these nutrients.
Fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables: Inclusion of fresh fruits like papaya, oranges, pomegranate, and red grapes boost the immunity by blocking the free radicals and prevent formation of cancer growths. Therefore by include them and reduce the risk of cancer formation.