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TAKE CARE Wise dietary choices can make that crucial difference
TAKE CARE Wise dietary choices can make that crucial difference

Obesity increases the risk of a farrago of avoidable diseases

Thirty to forty per cent of all cancers can be prevented with dietary measures and lifestyle changes. Obesity increases the risk of cancers of the oesophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach (in men), prostate, breast, uterus, cervix and ovary. Few statistics exist on its prevalence in India, but the best guess is that one in five adults is overweight. And the numbers are rising. In some parts of the world obesity is now overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of premature death.On the other hand, calorie restriction may prolong life. Restricting calorie intake to 70-80 per cent of what is required to maintain an ideal body weight reduces cancer risk and increases lifespan. However, calorie reduction should be accompanied by adequate vitamin and mineral intake.Diabetes increases the risk of colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer and pancreatic cancer. High glycaemic index foods like refined sugar, polished rice, white bread, soft drinks and almost all junk foods, increase the risk of diabetes in the long term. Red meat releases cancer-causing heterocyclic amines during cooking: this increases the risk of colorectal cancer.A diet rich in fruits and vegetables indisputably lowers the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Such a diet helps prevent cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, lung, mouth and pharynx, endometrium, pancreas and colon. Garlic, onion, leeks, carrots, green vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes have cancer-preventive effects. Selenium, found in whole grains, legumes and sunflower seeds, is a mineral with anti-cancer properties. Flax seed is rich in phyto-oestrogens potent anti-cancer compounds.The ideal anti-cancer diet has adequate but not excessive calories. It should include at least 10 servings of vegetables per day - especially including cabbage, cauliflower, onions and garlic. It will also include four servings of fresh fruit.The diet should be low in red meat, refined flour and polished rice, and rich in folic acid (from dark green vegetables). It should contain no more than one alcoholic drink per day. An adequate supply of all essential vitamins and minerals is essential.RAJIV. M

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