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Cancer remains one of the most fearsome threats to longevity, accounting for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK, according to the most recent figures. Cancer’s ability to multiply and invade neighbouring areas makes it a sophisticated enemy. While anyone can get cancer, evidence does suggest you can erect a barrier against it.
Diet may bolster your defences against cancer and evidence has singled out certain items for their anti-cancer properties.
Parsley – a fresh culinary herb native to the Mediterranean – contains compounds that may have anticancer effects.
The anticancer effect is attributed to the role a particular compound found in parsley plays in reducing oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a condition characterised by an imbalance in levels of substances called antioxidants and unstable atoms called free radicals.
Cancer development and progress has been linked to oxidative stress by increasing DNA mutations or inducing DNA damage.
Parsley is particularly rich in flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin C, which reduce oxidative stress in your body and may lower your risk of certain cancers.
For example, evidence shows that a high dietary intake of flavonoids may reduce colon cancer risk by up to 30 percent.
Additionally, subgroups of certain flavonoids in parsley — such as myricetin and apigenin — have shown anticancer activity in test-tube and animal studies.
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What’s more, eating foods rich in vitamin C may reduce your risk of cancer.
A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of parsley provides 53 percent of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for this nutrient.
One study found that increasing vitamin C by 100 mg per day reduced the risk of overall cancer by seven percent.
Moreover, increasing dietary vitamin C by 150 mg per day may lower prostate cancer risk by up to 21 percent.
General tips to lower your cancer risk
A combination of genes, lifestyle and environment can influence your risk of developing cancer.
Around one in three cases of the most common cancers could be prevented by eating a healthy diet, keeping to a healthy weight and being more active, however, says Macmillan.
For most adults, a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can aid weight loss and directly reduce your risk of certain cancers.
As Macmillan reports, eating plenty of high-fibre foods helps reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
“Red and processed meat are linked to a higher risk of bowel and prostate cancer,” adds the charity.
Red meats include beef, pork, lamb and veal. Processed meats include sausages, bacon, salami, tinned meats, and packet meats like sandwich ham.
Many studies have also found that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer and can help to maintain a healthy weight.
UK health guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.
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