If you followed us during Part I & II of our series on What is a Cancer Fighting Diet, you know that WHAT and HOW much you eat matters (see Part I &II posts). We can now discuss the impact of PROTEIN SOURCES.
Your body breaks down dietary protein into amino acids which are then used as building blocks for all the cells, muscles, and tissues in your body.
So what Protein Sources should you be eating on a Cancer Fighting Diet?
In short, cold water fish, legumes, soy, nuts, and seeds.
Shifting from a diet that focuses on animal proteins, like beef, chicken, and pork, to one that focuses on cold-water fish, beans, legumes, soy, nuts, and seeds has been shown to be cancer preventative.
Animal proteins, like beef, contain higher amounts of saturated fat, which have been linked to an increased risk of prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers1. Along with containing these fats, animal proteins are also highly Inflammatory. Inflammation increases the rate at which cells are growing in the body, making it harder for our immune systems to catch cell mistakes. It’s when these mistakes get passed on that cancer develops.
A lot of processed meats, including bacon, lunch meats, and sausage, also contain carcinogens like nitrites and nitrates. Processed meat intake is associated with increased breast and prostate cancer risk (2,3).
The Omega-3 fats found in cold-water fish, on the other hand, are anti-inflammatory. The antioxidants and fiber found in legumes and soy have additional cancer-fighting properties. For example, the isoflavone genisteinfound in soy has been shown to reduce the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level in localized prostate cancer patients (4). Increased fiber intake has been shown to reduce risk for colorectal and prostate cancers, improve lipid status, and lower blood sugar levels (5).
Including the right types and amounts of protein in your diet is important for optimal wellness. It’s crucial that you meet with a nutritionist who specializes in oncology to guide you on the most comprehensive cancer-fighting diet and help you with the transition to a plant-focused diet.
Please call us at (248) 798-2942, and allow one of our board certified nutritionists and natural medicine doctors work with you to use nutrition to fight cancer and live the life you desire.
1Giovannucci, E., Rimm, E.B., Colditz, G.A., Stampfer, M.J., Ascherio, A., Chute, C.C., & Willett, W.C. (1993). A Prospective Study of Dietary Fat and Risk of Prostate Cancer [Abstract]. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 85(19), 1571.
2Pouchieu, C., Deschasaux, M., Hercberg, S., Druesne-Pecollo, N., Latino-Martel, P., Touvier, M. (2014). Prospective association between red and processed meat intakes and breast cancer risk: modulation by an antioxidant supplementation in the SU.VI.MAX randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Epidemiology, 43 (5), 1583-92. Doi: 10.1093/ije/dyu134
3Sinha, R., Park, Y., Graubard, B.I., Leitzmann, M.F., Hollenbeck, A., Schatzkin, A., & Cross, A.J. (2009). Meat and Meat-related Compounds and Risk of Prostate Cancer in a Large Prospective Cohort Study in the United States. American Journal of Epidemiology, 170(9), 1165-1177. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp280
4Lazarvic, B., Boezelijin, G., Diep, L.M., Kvernrod, O., Ramberg, H.,… & Karlsen, S.J. (2011). Efficacy and safety of short-term genistein intervention in patients with localized prostate cancer prior to radical prostatectomy: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase 2 clinical trial. Nutrition and Cancer, 63(6), 889-98. Doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.582221
5Fechner, A., Fenske, K., Jahreis, G. (2013). Effects of legume kernel fibres and citrus fibre on putative risks for colorectal cancer: a radomised, double-blind, crossover human intervention trial. Nutrition Journal, 12-101. Doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-101