Cancer – The word itself incites fear in everyone’s mind. Cancer is a general name given to a group of diseases characterised by abnormal growth of cells. It affects millions of people and is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness about cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. This year the theme of World Cancer Day is ‘I am and I Will’.
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of cancer. Unhealthy lifestyle, stress, alcohol and tobacco usage, chronic infections, obesity and lack of exercise are some of the factors that can be addressed on individual level to bring down the risk of cancer.
Eating habits play an important role in maintaining good health. Wrong dietary patterns and bad food choices considerably increase the risks of cancer. Consumption of processed and packaged foods, high salt and high sugar foods, foods with pesticide residues and diet high in saturated fats and low in fibre are known to increase the risk of cancer.
However, eating plenty of fruits, specially apples, citrus fruits, berries, grapes etc. and vegetables like cauliflower, pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach etc. help to reduce the risk of the dreaded disease considerably. Incorporating whole grains, beans and lentils in the daily diet also helps to reduce the risk of cancer. Nuts like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like flaxseed (Jawas) are known as anti-cancer foods. Green tea is also known for its anti-cancer properties. Using liberal amounts of onion and garlic and spices like turmeric and cinnamon also helps to protect against the disease.
Good nutrition, proper exercise and healthy lifestyle habits are the key to keep cancer at bay.