Hyderabad, Nov 9: Avoid fatty acids in diet and keep off cancer. Fatty acids particularly of the saturated type play a major role in promoting cancer in humans.
According to National Institute of Nutrition director Dr B Seshikeran, diets low in micronutrients will also increase the risk of cancers.
"The components of the food we eat on one side cause cancer but on the other also protect us from this dreaded disease," he told an international seminar on nutritional evaluation of foods here on Thursday.
Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in the world. The annual incidence of cancer in India is about seven lakh with at least two million people suffering from it at any given time. Around four lakh people die every year in the country due to cancer.
What is interesting is that almost one-third of all cancer cases are related the food habits. "The dietary factors which may promote cancer are the fatty acids, i.e. saturated and to some extent n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), while n-3 has a distinct preventive role. Diets low in micronutrients increase the risk of cancers in a milieu of pro-carcinogens," he said.
Selenium, Zinc and ascorbic acid act as antioxidants and have anti cancer properties. Fruits and vegetables are the most beneficial in cancer prevention.
"Isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower and cabbage, phenolic compounds in garlic, green tea, soya and cereals, flavonoids in fruits, vegetables, green tea, soya bean, garlic, citrus fruits, mint and organo sulphides contribute to the anti-cancer properties," Dr Seshikeran said.
Food analysis will provide the basis for choice of food, which may benefit significantly by reducing cancer risk, he pointed out.
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