Esophageal cancer is a devastating disease that affects the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that helps move food from the throat to the stomach. Typically this cancer starts in the cells that line the esophagus and it can happen at any point on the organ. There is a gender dynamic to this cancer and it typically afflicts more men than women. Globally, this cancer is the sixth leading cause of death among the different kinds of cancers that exist. Tobacco, alcohol use and nutritional habits are all factors that scientists have identified that place people at risk of getting the disease.
Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is often characterized by difficulties in swallowing which become worse as the disease progresses. Other symptoms of this disease include constant heartburns, a cough that persists for a long time and does not respond to treatment, hoarse voice and constant fatigue. If caught early enough, esophageal cancer can be treated through radio and chemotherapy. However, the best bet against the disease is to prevent it. Did you know that there are certain foods that can lower the risk of developing esophageal cancer? Read more to find out which foods can help you achieve this.
Tea, especially green tea has powerful anti-oxidization properties that help protect you from esophageal cancer. Black tea is also a good source of these anti-oxidants so if you cannot access green tea, you can still get the same protection from the normal tea. Various studies have shown that people who regularly consume tea are less likely to develop cancer than those who don’t. This is because anti-oxidants in tea help prevent cell damage by unstable molecules known as free radicals. These free radicals are stabilized when they interact with anti-oxidants and rendered harmless.
Vegetables have long been known to have a host of benefits to the body. A diet that is rich in vegetables is usually low in calories and thus prevents risk factors such as obesity. Secondly, particular vegetables such as Kales, Brussel sprouts, and many others contain nutrients that help protect the body from many different types of cancers including cancer of the esophagus. Ensure that you eat vegetables in every serving and vary the type of vegetable you take in order to tap into the health benefits of various types of vegetables.
Just like vegetables, fruits have massive benefits to the body and their consumption can significantly lower the risk of cancer. Firstly, fructose that is found in fruits is a healthier alternative to processed sugar that is found in food items such as fizzy drinks and cakes. Secondly, fruits are generally rich in nutrients, vitamins, and anti-oxidants, all of which contribute to minimizing cell mutations that lead to esophageal cancer. When selecting which fruits to take, focus on fruits that do not have high citric acid content. Fruits such as mangoes, bananas, peaches, and avocados have low or no citric acid and thus are great to include in your day-to-day diet. While you can take citric fruits (fruits high in citric acid), keep the intake of these at a minimum.
Whole grain foods are an excellent addition to any diet but are particularly powerful at preventing esophageal cancer. This is because food items with whole grains are rich in fiber that is known to lower the risk of cancer as well as help an individual maintain healthy body weight. Food items that are rich in fiber include oats, sweet potatoes among others. Others include rye and other whole grain foods.
In tests conducted on mice, scientists found that feeding black or navy beans to mice lowered their risk of developing cancer. It has also been observed that there is a lowered incidence of esophageal cancer among people who primarily eat plant protein (such as beans) as opposed to animal protein. A few servings of beans in a diet every week can provide excellent protection against the occurrence of this type of cancer.
For years, cinnamon has been known as a super-food whose anti-inflammation properties lower the risk of various types of cancers including cancer of the esophagus. In addition to this, cinnamon reduces blood sugar and promotes the overall health of the body. You can tap into the health benefits of cinnamon by adding one or two teaspoons of cinnamon every day to help protect you from esophageal cancer.
Nuts are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins and many other nutrients. They have also been identified as having cancer-fighting properties. In addition, nuts are great at helping one maintain healthy eating habits as they are a healthy substitute to snacking. Nuts also help an individual eat less food as they have a filling effect. To tap into the cancer-fighting benefits of nuts, ensure that you take a handful of nuts every day especially as a replacement to your usual snack.
Olive oil is one of the central tenets of the Mediterranean diet and is generally regarded as a very healthy food. Studies around the world indicate that countries with high consumption of olive oil tend to have significantly reduced incidences of cancers including esophageal cancer. You can tap into the benefits of olive oil by substituting your usual cooking oil with olive oil. Alternatively, you can use olive oil as a marinade for meat or as part of your salad dressing.
Turmeric is another food that has long been associated with improved health. This is because it has both anti-oxidization and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which help lower the incidence of cancers such as esophageal cancer. You can add turmeric to food as a spice and can boost its absorption in the body by combining it with a dash of black pepper.
Although these foods do not offer a guarantee that one will not develop the condition, they do significantly lower the risk of occurrence. Other things that you can do to keep esophageal cancer at bay include reducing (or completely eliminating) the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products. Apart from nutrition, it is important to focus on holistic wellness and incorporate physical exercise in one’s lifestyle.