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This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and across the country charities and the public are coming together to raise awareness and much needed funds for scientific research and treatments.
Although the number of people being diagnosed with cancer each year is on the increase, the good news is that survival rates are also on the rise as people are becoming more aware of signs and symptoms.
Thankfully, there are simple things that can be done to decrease your risk factors - stopping smoking and limiting your alcohol intake being the biggest and most important - but some can be as easy as swapping your afternoon biccie for a handful of walnuts. Our lifestyle, in particular our diet, can have a huge impact on our general health and wellbeing but there are some food groups that are particularly good at protecting against cancerous cell growth.
Here are our top five cancer-fighting foods to include in your diet to help protect your body against cancer for the future.
All vegetables from the cruciferous family, like cauliflower, cabbage and kale contain cancer-fighting nutrients, but broccoli is possibly the best. It has high quantities of sulforaphane - a compound which boosts the body's protective enzymes and helps flush out any cancer causing chemicals that have built up. Recent studies have found broccoli has helped fight against breast, liver, skin and prostate cancers.
Fill your diet with plenty of berries, especially raspberries, strawberries and blackberries as they are filled with phytonutrients. The dark red berries especially have high levels of anthocyanins - a phytochemical which has been found to slow down the growth of premalignant cells. For protection against skin, colon and esophageal cancers, berries are key.
The humble tomato holds some serious anti-cancerous properties that can help ward off prostate, lung and stomach cancers. Thanks to its high levels of lycopene - the carotenoid that gives the fruit its bright red colour - it has been found to reduce and even stop the growth of endometrial cancer cell growth in a recent study.
Garlic is another food that is high in phytochemicals. In recent studies, garlic has helped halt the growth of nitrosamines - the carcinogens formed in the intestines - that build up after eating too much highly processed foods. A US study found that women who had the highest amounts of garlic in their diets had half the chance of developing colon cancer compared to those who ate the least.
Snacking on nuts is definitely a healthy option if you are looking to lose weight, but walnuts in particular can also help fight off cancerous cells. Thanks to the phytosterols - molecules that resemble cholesterol found in plants - it has been found to block the estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells and could help slow down those potentially dangerous cells' growth.