Ladies, this one’s for you! In the past few weeks, we’ve explored how eating a plant-based diet is effective in strengthening the immune system, reducing the symptoms of menopause and helping us look and feel years younger. This week, we’ve got even more exciting news based on new studies supporting how a vegan diet could help in the prevention of female cancers, too!
The American Academy for Cancer Research recently announced that plant-based diets are highly effective in the prevention of female specific cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian and cervical cancer) as well as many gastrointestinal cancers (pancreas, colon, stomach, etc.).In one such study, Dr. Chaitali Ghosh, Ph.D., along with a team of researchers from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, recently investigated the correlation between diet and cervical cancer risks. What they found was a very promising link between a plant-based diet and a 40-60% reduction in the rate of cervical cancer! This is largely because a diet high in fiber, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and folate is directly linked to the protection and regeneration of healthy cells. Plus, experts agree that a diet high in antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids and folate is highly effective in helping the body fight HPV infection (one of the leading causes of cervical cancer). These findings may also be attributed to the fact that a diet free from meat and dairy lowers the IGF-1 growth hormones in our body (animal protein based hormones linked to the development of cancer), giving a vegan diet the ability to actually slow the growth of cancer cells! While vegetarians obviously fare better than meat eaters when it comes to reducing their cancer risk, a new study from Loma Linda University shows that vegans have the lowest cancer risk of all. According to the study, a “vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific (breast, ovarian and cervical) cancer than other dietary patterns.” Since animal products contain carcinogenic compounds that contribute to an increased risk of cancer, a vegan diet protects your body by guarding your cells from the destructive effects of meat, as well as the elevated levels of estrogen that are common in dairy products, as well! One study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, recently identified a direct link between high-fat dairy and breast cancer survival. The study’s lead author, Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, found that “women consuming one or more servings per day of high-fat dairy had a 64 percent higher risk of dying from any cause and a 49 percent increased risk of dying from their breast cancer during the follow-up period." Additionally, since fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and low in calories, a plant-based diet has shown to be a very effective strategy for weight management. Considering that the American Institute for Cancer Research has also identified a strong link between excess body fat and cancer risks, maintaining a healthy weight could be one of the best methods of cancer prevention possible, just adding to the list of reasons for why a plant-based diet is so important to your health! So this new year, make a resolution to do what’s best for your body and give it the nutrition and protection it needs - because a plant-based diet could easily be your number one defender in the fight against disease!