With cancer rates increasing year after year, it’s evident that we’re now at a state of health where preventing, rather than treating, this disease is of paramount importance.
Overturning this trend and dedicating ourselves to bettering our health will require a multifaceted approach, but one imperative key to success is a shift in how we eat.
This new way of eating will not only help us stay healthy, but could also serve as an effective anti-cancer strategy. Could a nutrition-focused approach to cancer treatment be the next big thing in medicine? Let’s explore.
What Is The Link Between Diet and Cancer?
There is a well-established link between poor dietary habits and various types of cancer, including colorectal, liver, and breast. For example, diets high in processed meat and low in fruits and vegetables have all been linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer. And what about breast cancer? The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women who consumed a lot of whole grain breads and pasta and very little red meat were less likely to develop this disease.
With obesity on the rise, and with that, comes an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes and cancer. As a result, physicians are seeing a rise in double and even triple digit survival rates. So while this is certainly good news, it also highlights the need for better dietary habits among the population at large.
Why Is A Dietary Approach Important?
Diet is a significant factor in cancer development. Not only does what we eat affect the way our body functions, but it also determines the likelihood of us getting certain diseases in the first place. So, if you want to be disease-free, changing what you eat will be key to avoiding cancer.
Additionally, there is an undeniable link between the way we eat and the environment. Our diets impact the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the planet, in turn, suffers as a result. So if you’re committed to being eco-friendly, cutting out meat and dairy and eating more plants-based foods will become essential for your health and the health of the planet.
What if you’re already diagnosed with cancer? While changing your diet may not necessarily cure your disease, it still serves a vital role in your treatment and in minimizing the damage done by the disease. In general, a healthy diet keeps your body active and strong, and that means a better chance of surviving the disease. So while diet isn’t the be-all and end-all in cancer treatment, it’s still extremely important.
The Evolution Of Cancer Treatment
Traditional treatments for cancer (surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy) have largely failed to keep up with the times. The majority of patients will relapse with the advancement of new drug treatments. Thus, new approaches are desperately needed.
An emerging field gaining popularity as a potential solution to this problem is immunotherapy, or treatment with the patient’s immune system. Essentially, cancer treatments are now aimed at bolstering the body’s own immune response in order to eliminate the disease. So far, the field is still in its infancy, but there are already promising results.
However, while a nutrition-focused approach could be a viable option for cancer prevention and treatment, it won’t be enough to simply switch to a plant-based diet. Rather, it will require stringent adherence to a particular diet in order to see the desired results.
What About Nutrition And Exercise?
Along with diet, nutrition and exercise also serve a vital role in keeping us healthy. A number of studies have shown that a well-balanced diet and plenty of sleep each night contribute to an overall lower cancer risk. Additionally, getting some exercise regularly offers many health benefits, including minimizing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. So if you’re committed to staying healthy, both nutrition and exercise must be a part of your daily routine.
What About The Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to offer important protective properties against the onset of cancer. These acids are commonly found in fatty fish, plants, and nuts. While the precise mechanism behind their cancer-fighting ability is still under investigation, experts agree that they may play a role in maintaining a proper cell membrane and in the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be vital for embryonic development and tissue regeneration, so it would be a great idea to get some before the end of the month.
Eco-friendly And Effective
A dietary approach to cancer treatment will not only be beneficial to your physical health, but will also have a positive impact on the environment. Cutting out meat and dairy, which are two of the main sources of environmental toxins, will drastically reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve nature.
Additionally, a shift towards more plant-based foods will reduce your diet’s impact on the air we breathe, which is already laden with toxins. So, cutting out meat and dairy and focusing on healthier plant-based alternatives will benefit us all.
While there is still much to learn about diet and its role in cancer development and treatment, the preliminary data speaks for itself. Simply cutting out meat and dairy and increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your diet will go a long way in preserving your health and the health of the planet.
The key takeaway from all this is that dietary changes can and do affect the way we respond to diseases, so it’s imperative that we change what we eat if we want to live a longer and healthier life.