The uncontrolled growth of cells in any part of the body is cancer. It is a group of disease. Cancer kills millions of people every year in our world. Few can be curable if diagnosed in the early stages. We can do a lot to minimize the risk of cancer. The hereditary risk factor is only about 5% to 10%. The rest comes from our lifestyle, diet and environment. We see here the many ways to reduce the cancer risks.

Food plays a vital role in the prevention of many cancers and they include the cancer of:

• Colon
• Esophagus
• Larynx
• Lung
• Oral cavity
• Prostate
• Rectum

There are many studies, but more research is still needed to know more about the exact mechanism of cancer prevention with right foods.

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have so many phytochemicals that are useful in the prevention of cancer. We don’t know exactly what substances or which food is good since the fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain several hundred phytochemicals that can be helpful to prevent cancer. The important groups of substances that are useful include:

• Antioxidants
• Phytochemicals
• Polyunsaturated fatty acids e.g. Omega 3-fattyacids

Antioxidants – these are substances that prevent or inhibit oxidation process in the body to protect cells. The aggressive free radicals can attack the healthy cells and can change their DNA. The result is tumor growth. More research is necessary to understand the role of cancer prevention of antioxidants from the food.

The important antioxidants include:

• Vitamin C
• Beta-carotene
• Vitamin E

The food rich in these antioxidants, particularly fruits, vegetables and nuts are very important food to minimize the risk of cancer.

Phytochemicals – these are chemicals present in plants to protect them from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Phytochemicals can act as antioxidants or food protectors or prevent cancer forming substances n the body. Brightly colored fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain many phytochemicals. Red, yellow, green, orange, blue, purple and white color fruits and vegetables are rich in phytochemicals.

The important phytochemicals include:
• Allicin – found in onions and garlic
• Anthocyanins – found in red and blue fruits and in vegetables
• Biflavonoids – found in citrus fruits
• Carotenoids – found in dark yellow, orange and deep green fruits and vegetables
• Flavonoids – found in fruits and vegetables
• Indoles – found in cruciferous vegetables
• Isoflavones – found in soybeans
• Lignins found in flaxseed and whole grains
• Lutein – found in leafy green vegetables
• Lycopene – found in tomato products and water melon
• Polyphenols – found in fruits, legumes, seeds and tea

It is important to eat the food containing these phytochemicals. We get phytochemicals only from our food. There are no supplements for phytochemicals.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids e.g. Omega 3-fattyacids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids belong to the group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Omega 3 fatty acids are:

• Alpha-linolenic acid – present in flaxseed and in walnuts
• Eicosapentaenoic acid
• Docosahexaenoic acid

The last two are present in cold water fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, halibut, striped bass and tuna. The body cannot produce these fatty acids and so must be taken from the food or from good supplements. Consult your dietician or doctor before you tank any food supplements.

Omega 3-fatty acids may reduce or prevent the risk of tumor production in the breast and prostate glands.

There are no recommended daily dietary allowance for antioxidants, phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Excess antioxidants can become pro-oxidants and this is bad for the health.

It is better to avoid processed food, fast food and junk food. If you can’t avoid it you must minimize the intake of these foods. As you know more than 3000 chemicals are used in the food processing industry. If an animal is butchered there is no waste. Almost everything is coming to our plate with the help of chemicals.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best. Frozen fruits and vegetables are equally good.

The above mentioned food is good not only to prevent or minimize the risk for cancer but also to prevent or minimize the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and overweight and obesity.