Two independent research bodies both provide firm evidence that the foods we consume directly impact our risk for developing cancer and can significantly lower cancer incidence. An international study published in the journal Nutrition explains that certain lifestyle factors, specifically smoking and eating diets high in animal products, have the strongest association with cancer rates. Investigators looked at cancer rates for 21 different forms of the disease from 157 different countries and statistically compared these rates with indices for risk-modifying factors.
Junk food consumption is the second leading preventable cause of many types of cancer
The scientists performing this analysis determined that more than half of the cancer incidence rates were explained by smoking and animal product indices. Additionally, alcoholic beverage consumption explained a smaller, yet still significant number of new cancer cases. While smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer, the team found that animal products had the strongest correlation among certain cancers, including breast, kidney, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, testicular and thyroid cancer.
A study group from Rutgers University has published the results of their work in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that demonstrates how adopting a diet rich in tomatoes may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in at-risk groups of postmenopausal women. Women in the US have a 12.4 percent risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. This risk increases with age, with women over the age of 50 having a 1 in 42 chance of developing the disease. Researchers found that, when women followed a tomato-rich diet for 10 weeks, they showed a 9 percent increase in their levels of adiponectin.
Adiponectin is a hormone that plays a part in the regulation of fat and blood sugar levels and significantly lowers the risk for breast cancer incidence. The study authors concluded, "Eating fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as lycopene, conveys significant benefits. Based on this data, we believe regular consumption of at least the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables would promote breast cancer prevention in an at-risk population." In addition to eliminating smoking as a fully accepted direct cause of cancer, adding a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits, especially lycopene-rich tomatoes, can impact gene expression to help prevent many forms of cancer.
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