Preventing Cancer with a Plant-Based Diet by Dr. Neal Barnard

Cancer has a major impact on society across the world. Statistics show us devastating information that 1,685,210 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2016, in the US alone. Of that number, 595,690 people lost the battle to this vicious disease. Another devastating fact is that one in four people will develop some form of cancer during their life. It has become an imperative that we take some precautionary measures in order to avoid cancer, and build our defense against it.

Most of us are aware of the fact that animal products contain a number of nutrients, some of which are a necessary ingredient in the fight against cancer. Most of us are also aware of the fact that some animal products can increase our chances of developing cancer. However, not many are familiar with the positive impact that consumption of fruits and vegetables can have in this fight, as well as in cancer prevention.

New research conducted by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) shows that subjects that consumed red and processed meat increased their risk of developing cancer or other health issues by 44%, compared to the subjects that were kept on a more strict diet. Another surprising piece of information that came from this study is that male subjects who consumed a glass of whole milk daily had their chances of developing prostate cancer doubled. In women, certain types of cancer, such as breast and ovarian cancer were 50% more likely to occur due to the consumption of high-fat dairy products than their counter parts who consumed half the amount of the same products.

Lucky for us, fruits and vegetables are not only cheap and accessible; they can also be packed with antioxidants which help our organism develop healthy cells, instead of cancerous ones. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, vegan and vegetarian diets are responsible for the reduced risk of ovarian, uterine, breast, gastrointestinal, and other types of cancer.

One of the people behind the idea of consuming fruits and veggies to ward cancer off is Dr. Neal Barnard, associate professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Science in Washington, D.C. Dr. Barnard is the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the founder of Barnard Medical Center.

Dr. Barnard’s work in cancer prevention and treatment has led him to writing a book, or a series of tips and advice, on the illness. It included tips on what to eat, what to avoid, and which habits to take up. He also believes that the color of the food we consume is a major factor in the fight against cancer, and here’s what certain foods do regarding cancer, according to their color:

  1. Green Foods

Collards, kale, and spinach, as well as other greens rich in folatecan significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

  1. Orange Foods

This group includes mangos, carrots, pumpkins, yams, and sweet potatoes, all of which have high contents of beta-carotene, a compound that boosts our immune system.

  1. Brown Foods

Legumes and whole grains are fiber-rich, and the fiber content promotes the removal of carcinogens.

  1. Red Foods

Tomatoes, watermelon, and guava contain lycopene, an antioxidant responsible for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

  1. Blue Foods

Blueberries, plums, and purple grapes all contain anthocyanins responsible for destroying free radicals.


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