It’s no secret that certain foods can help to lower the risk of cancer. But what may be surprising is that these best healthy food for cancer patient and preventing cancer are common, cheap and delicious, and as such could be easily incorporated into everyday meals without sacrificing flavour or fun.
Studies suggest that a diet that is primarily plant-based, and which emphasises fresh leafy green vegetables and fruits as well as juices because they are alkaline foods builds the body’s armoury against infections, including cancer.
Dr Funmi Akinyele, Executive Director, Food Basket Foundation International, Ibadan said many plant foods in their natural forms are protective against ill health, including cancers.
According to Dr Akinyele, “the body is like a car. Food is the petrol of the body. When you put too much of the wrong fuel in the body, you end up getting the wrong effect in terms of diseases like cancer and diabetes.”
Basically, Dr Akinyele stated that since natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, cocoyam, and sweet potatoes are able to ensure an alkaline body pH,they boost body immunity and are protective against cancer.
“Actually, everybody has cancerous cells in their bodies. Alkaline foods ensure that healthier cells grow more than the cancerous cells. When the body is acidic, alongside other environmental factors, the body’s immunity is decreased, making cancerous cells to grow more than healthy cells. This is why people could get cancer,” said Dr Akinyele.
There are three essential things required by the body to remain healthy
Nutrition, rest and exercises. According to her, this entails “eating as close to nature as possible and taking sufficient amount of water, alongside exercises and rest. Between 60 and 70 per cent of the human body is made up of water.”
However, she declared that many people lack knowledge on the right kinds of food required to be eaten for optimal body health.
“Many people no longer eat foods like Cocoyam and sweet potatoes even though they are cheap and readily available in our markets. They could be prepared in different forms and are very good in maintaining the body in an alkaline pH.
“Some people believe that these are foods for the poor but they are the healthiest foods people should be eating. Sweet potatoes also have low glycaemic index, meaning that after its consumption, glucose is released slowly into the bloodstream, and as such does not cause a spike in blood’s glucose level like yam.
“In addition, sweet potato contains vitamin A, B6, and K as well as potassium and iron. It is also fat free.”
Rather than eat red meat, which can also be classified as an acidic food, she said it is healthier for people to eat white meats like goat meat.
She declared: “In our culture, it will be impossible to stay off red meat, so it is better to reduce its consumption. Alternatives to red beef include goat meat. One can also take the part of the cow such as liver and kidney because they also contain micronutrients.”
In eating right, she said the amounts of vegetables and fruits taken with meal are also important. “Actually, if you are going to eat vegetables, it should fill half the plate, a quarter of the plate can then be the real meal and the other quarter filled with either meat or fish. That is the best way to eat,” she declared.
The vegetable could be a mixture of those in season. It could be also be a combination of fruits and vegetables that will fill half the plate.
She added, “the best thing to do is to just experiment, one can try mixing a leafy green vegetable with cucumber in one’s meals, for different varieties.
“For instance, carrots are under served in our community; they are very cheap, but we do not eat them and its benefits are huge. A lot of people as they grow older begin to lose their vision. But carrots, particularly because they are rich in betacarotene, had been shown to improve vision.
“It is important that we keep taking them regularly as a protective measure for our eyes and not wait till old age and when doctors start to prescribe vitamin supplements.”
The same amount of money to be spent buying carbonated soda drink, she added can be spent on buying a variety of fruits in small proportions for consumption.
In addition, rather than people consume oils labelled vegetable oil, Dr Akinyele said healthier oils like olive oil, sunflower oil and rampseed oil are better for the body.
For years, the theory that eating a low-acid, high-alkaline diet can help fight and prevent cancer has existed. Most fruits and vegetables, soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods.
Dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods, fall on the acid side. But diet is something individuals can control.