Role of Food In Preventive Medicine
Food plays an extremely important role in preventing most diseases that are caused by environmental factors, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. While it is true that certain types of diseases cannot always be prevented, as there is an underlying genetic component that is passed from generation to generation, you can significantly lower your risk for developing some diseases by simply adopting a healthy and balanced diet, free of trans fats, sugars and such. A research conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research stated that approximately one third of all cancers can be prevented through regular physical activity combined with a healthy diet and by maintaining a healthy weight over the years.
When it comes to food and its role in preventive medicine, many people refer to healthy diets as “food therapy”. Foods rich in essential minerals, vitamins and other nutrients can prevent most nutritional disorders and their related health problems. Diet is extremely important in disease prevention, especially for those who are predisposed to lung, prostate, breast, gastric as well as colorectal cancer, which are known to be highly influenced by what we eat and, most importantly, by what we don’t!
Numerous studies have revealed that those who have a healthy diet rich in dietary fiber and eat plenty of fruits, fish rich in amino acids, and cruciferous vegetables are less likely to develop cancer. However, healthy diets should go hand in hand with healthy lifestyle choices: those who truly want to be on the safe side should avoid or at least reduce their intake of red and processed meat, and should also avoid smoking, doing drugs, or drinking alcohol.
Some foods are simply better than others when talking about preventive care. For example, foods rich in antioxidants such as green tea, garlic or berries are known to lower the cancer incidence, as they directly attack free radicals, which are amongst the leading causes of cancer. Carotenoids, such as papaya, tomatoes or spinach, along with fruits rich in Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E are also linked to a lower risk of lung cancer, while the lycopenes that are naturally found in tomatoes are known to reduce the risk for prostate cancer.
Preventing the onset of diseases is definitely better than trying to treat it, and nutritionists and doctors recommend a holistic approach. Besides the foods mentioned above, it is also important for people to understand the importance of phytonutrients and other biologically active ingredients, such as polyphenols that are known to not just prevent cancer, but also to slow down the reproduction of cancer cells once the disease sets in.
The bottom line is that the body has an amazing capacity to cure and repair itself. Adopting a whole-grain, whole-food approach is of utmost importance. A person leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and having a balanced diet (who does not suffer from avitaminosis or a lack of minerals) has less risk of developing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or any other potentially deadly condition.