Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Include These Vegetables in Your Diet to Prevent Gynecologic Cancer

Nutrition plays a role in the prevention of various gynecological cancers.

The World Cancer Research Fund along with the American Institute for
Cancer Research analyzed research on nutrition and its role in cancer
and published the “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective."

The recommendations for the general public are as follows:

  • Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight.
  • Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  • Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.  Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  • Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
  • Limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Limit consumption of salt.
  • Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.
This report analyzes the evidence by cancer type including three gynecological cancers.

Nutrition to prevent cervical cancer

Specific to cervical
cancer, there is some evidence that an intake of carrots may protect
again cervical cancer.  According to the American Institute for Cancer
Research “The evidence, from case-control studies only, is sparse but
consistent.  There is limited evidence suggesting that carrots protect
against cervical cancer.”

Additional sources of produce high in carotenoids include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale and other greens
  • Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes

Nutrition to prevent ovarian cancer

For ovarian cancer, evidence suggests that consuming these non-starchy vegetables may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Nutrition to prevent endometrial (uterine) cancer

endometrial cancer, a high percentage of body fat as well as weight gain
in the adult years may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

So clearly at the top on your priority is weight management and just as your mother said “eat your vegetables."

The two work hand in hand as well as vegetables are a very high fiber,
low calorie food which can provide cancer fighting compounds and assist
with the feeling of fullness.  Easy ways to incorporate vegetables in
your diet are:

  • Breakfast: Top your cereal off with berries or make a spinach omelet.
  • Lunch: Layer sandwiches with greens, tomatoes and cucumber.  Have raw vegetables on the side instead of chips.
  • Dinner: always include a colorful salad and aim to fill half
    your dinner plate with non-starchy vegetables like steamed asparagus,
    broccoli and carrots.
  • Snacks: Try baby carrots, sugar snaps peas and sliced red peppers dipped into hummus.
Continue following this blog for more recipes with cancer fighting properties.

Debra DeMille, MS, RD, CSO is a nutritional counselor at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center. 
Debra has worked at Pennsylvania Hospital since 1988 with the last 12
years specializing in oncology.  Debra guides individuals receiving
chemotherapy and radiation as well as addressing survivorship issues
including the use of Integrative therapies.  She conducts cooking
programs and group counseling sessions for cancer survivors.