Those green veggies on your plate could do more than give you essential vitamins and minerals. If you smoke, they could also help lower the risk of oral cancer, according to a recent study by the British Dental Health Foundation.
Vegetables and Smoking
An article from Medical News Today said:
The research showed for every one serving of green leafy vegetables, the risk of oral cancer for current women smokers is reduced compared to those who have given up or never smoked.
Larger studies would be necessary to determine the extent of the effect it has on cancer risk, but researchers said that this just goes to show how important a person’s diet is to their overall health and specifically to reduce oral cancer. Tobacco is still the leading cause of oral cancer, but studies are showing that an unhealthy diet contributes to about 1/3 of all oral cancer cases.
Food and Cancer
A WebMD article by Elizabeth Heubeck suggests that diet actually plays a huge part in helping to prevent many kinds of cancer. Some researchers suggest that if 2/3 of your plate is fruits, vegetables and other plants, you will avoid the bulk of unhealthy saturated fats. According to the article, here are some things to look for:
- Vitamin D (milk, shrimp, eggs, sunshine) – It prevents or slows the growth of cancerous cells.
- Folates (brussels sprouts, spinach, peas, asparagus, orange juice) – Researchers say that adequate levels of folate can help prevent DNA mutations.
- Tea (contains flavanoids) – Flavanoids are known for being antioxidant, and one type in particular has been specifically associated with protecting against cancer. Consuming 4 cups of tea each day can help reduce the chances of cancer.
- Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens, cauliflower) – Cutting or chewing these veggies was found to release substances that could help kill cancer.
- Ginger (ginger ale, gingerbread, and many soups and sauces contain ginger as well) – Ginger hasn’t yet been proven to help kill cancerous cells, but initial studies show that ginger may cause cancerous cells to kill themselves off without harming surrounding cells, or even to eat themselves.
Whether you are a smoker battling oral cancer, or you simply want to pursue a healthier lifestyle, your diet has an important role to play. You may not be able to completely overhaul your eating patterns in one swift move, but you may be able to gradually introduce certain vegetables and fruits into your diet. Even little things like trading out your weekly milkshake for a fruit smoothie could have a huge impact in the long run. Take small steps if you must, but the resulting health benefits far outweigh any difficulties with learning where to find the fresh greens in the grocery store.