The 100th meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research emphasized the role of diet to reduce cancer risk. New research indicates that people should follow this advice.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetable: A study of 452,755 people in Europe showed a strong link to reducing colon cancer risk by 24%.
  • Avoid burned meat: Cancer-causing compounds are formed when meat is cooked and charred at a high temperature. A preference for extremely browned meat increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 60%. The study included 62,581 subjects who gave details on their cooking preferences. The pancreatic cancer is often rapidly fatal.

A second European study showed that high intake of very browned meat increased the risk of colorectal cancer, but marinating meat in beer or wine before cooking reduces the formation of cancer-causing compounds.

  • Choose foods that are high in flavonoids: Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that flavonoids, antioxidants that occur naturally in plants, help protect cells against damage. Apigenin, a flavonoid found in foods including tomato sauce, celery, parsley and red wine, helps protect women against ovarian cancer.

Be sure to include broccoli sprouts. Fresh broccoli sprouts have a high concentration of sulforaphane-a, much higher than mature broccoli. Sulforaphane is a potent antibiotic that fights Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria known to cause gastritis, ulcers and possibly stomach cancer. Eating just 2.5 ounces a day for eight weeks showed a marked reduction in the bacteria.

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