Winter Veggies May Reduce Cancer Risks

Winter Squash

Do you have a sincere interest in how specific foods may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers? According to the American Cancer Association, there is no one study that provides the last word on the subject, and articles on the subject often fail to put new research finding in their proper context. In fact, it is often easier to definitively say what increases cancer risk (e.g. - cigarette smoking) than to say what reduces one's risk for a specific cancer. That said, collective research has identified certain foods that contain antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber, which support good health and, in turn, are associated with a reduced risk for certain types of cancer.

The body does use compounds found in certain food along with certain chemicals produced by the body to protect against tissue damage caused by oxidation. For example, some antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables protect against tissue damage and may result in a lower risk for certain types of cancer, including those listed below:

Beets - The crimson color in beets comes from compounds called betalains, which may help prevent certain cancers.

Winter Squash - Pumpkins, butternut squash, etc. owe their rich orange color to carotenoids, which have been linked to a lower risk of prostate, breast and lung cancer.

Brussels Sprouts - A member of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts are full of fiber, which helps to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

Parsnips - This white root vegetable contains antioxidants (vitamin C) that helps the body repair DNA damage and may reduce cancer risk.

No single food can prevent cancer. However, recent studies suggest that eating more vegetables and fruits (2 1/2 cups per day) can lower the risk of developing obesity. Being overweight is linked with an increased risk of cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, and pancreas. Obesity may also be linked with increased risk of cancers of the liver, cervix, and ovary, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.


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