Monday, 12 January 2009

Cancer becomes major cause of mortality and morbidity

Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in this world.

The annual incidence of cancer in India is about 7.0 lacs with atleast 2 milion people suffering with it at any given time. About 4 lacs die every year in India due to cancer. About 30% of cancers are diet related.

The components of the food we eat on one side cause cancer but on the other also protect us from this dreaded disease. The dietary factors which may promote cancer are the fatty acids, i.e. saturated and to some extent n-6 PUFA, while n-3 has a distinct preventive role.

Diets low in micronutrients increase the risk of cancers in a milieu of pro-carcinogens. Se, Zn, ascorbic acid etc. act as antioxidants have anticancer properties. Fruits and vegetables are the most beneficial in cancer prevention.

Isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetable, phenolic compounds in garlic, green tea, soya, cereals, etc. flavonoids in fruits, vegetables, green tea, soya bean, mono-terpenes in garlic, citrus fruits, mint, , organo sulfides, isoflavones, indole contribute to the anti-cancer properties.

Food analysis would provide the basis for choice of food, which may benefit significantly by reducing cancer risk.

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