The popular saying “You are what you eat” conveys a pretty straightforward message: A person’s diet greatly influences their overall health. Apart from exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet is another proactive approach you can take to give yourself the best chance at staying healthy. According to Medical News Today, following a healthy diet can decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer, improve your mood and memory, help with weight loss, strengthen bones, help with sleep, aid in metabolism and digestion, and more.
Per Healthline, your risk of developing cancer can increase or decrease depending on what you eat. Certain foods that, in high amounts, may increase your risk include sugar, refined carbohydrates (like those found in white bread and candies), burnt food, and processed meat. On the other hand, eating more foods that contain substances with anti-cancer properties may help decrease your risk. These include fruits, vegetables, spices, garlic, nuts, flaxseed, beans, legumes, fish, and olive oil. It is important to note, however, that no single food has been linked to directly causing or preventing cancer, and each person may differ in terms of what diet is best for them. But as a whole, it has been observed that having healthy eating habits can reduce the risk of cancer.
According to a 2020 article published in the BMJ, cancer types whose development may be influenced by a person’s diet include those of the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., oral, esophageal, stomach, liver, colorectal), lung, breast, and prostate.