Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in the world and it kills nearly 200,000 women a year. “Cervical cancer, a slow-growing cancer that starts in the lower portion of the uterus known as the cervix, is still a very scary and deadly disease”, points Dr.Bandita Sinha, MD Obs & Gynac, Senior Consultant, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital. As per the report of the National Cancer Institute, one-third of all cervical cancer deaths are associated with wrong dietary practices. Cervical cancer can be prevented with certain food types owing to their cancer-fighting properties and antioxidants. Foods with cancer-fighting ability nullify the effect of free radicals promoting cervical cancer development.
According to nutrition experts, there isn't a single element or a particular food that works to prevent cervical cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to structure a diet with a variety of foods. These foods help prevent cancer and restrict the activity of cancer cell growth. Besides structuring a requisite diet plan, a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise, minimizing stress level and abstaining from unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking and indulging in alcohol also play a part in the prevention of cervical cancer.
Vitamins especially vitamins A, C, E and calcium. Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, thus preventing cervical cancer. A study published in the "InternationalJournal of Gynaecologic Cancer" found that patients who took multivitamins that included these supplements had a lower viral load of HPV. Folic acid can also help boost the immune system and protect against HPV. A study in "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention" found that women with lower folate levels were more likely to have high-risk HPV infection
Foods rich in vitamin A include orange, carrots, squash, eggs, liver, tuna and fortified dairy products work best as cervical cancer preventers.
Foods rich in the vitamin-B folate should also be incorporated in diet to avoid cervical cancer. Folate lowers thelevel of homocysteine, a substance responsible for abnormal cell growth in the cervix. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens are excellent sources to boost folate consumption and prevent cervical cancer.
Avocados are acknowledged for their antioxidant effect and their ability to attack free radicals by restricting intestinal absorption to limit cervical cancer development.
Foods high in antioxidants are advised for the prevention of cervical cancer. Blueberries, squash, bell peppers, cherries, salmon and fatty fish are the antioxidants-enriched food options that fight free radicals to restrict abnormal growth of cells on the cervix.
Carrots contain beta carotene, which is helpful for preventing cervical cancer growth.
Inclusion of chilli peppers and jalapenos in the diet is recommended to neutralize nitrosamines to avoid cervical cancers.
Incorporation of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage contain antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that help reduce cervical cancer growth.
Foods with polyphenols and flavonoids that include green tea, olive oil, red grapes, black raspberries, blackberries, red wine, chocolate, walnuts, grapefruit, tomatoes, red beans and green peppers, peanuts and pomegranate are beneficial to prevent cervical cancer and inhibit cancer growth.
Foods that increase aflatoxin should be avoided as it may cause cervical cancer due to its ability to damage DNA.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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