Diet cannot completely stop cancer from spreading after the development of cancer.
But the dietary measure has cancer preventive and cytoprotective benefits.
For example, the benefits of a protein depend upon the source of protein.
Dietary protein sources can be classified into two groups – animal-derived proteins and plant-based proteins.
Source of protein can greatly affect muscle building, maintaining muscle strength, and preventing sarcopenia.
Like, beef protein intake can higher the muscle protein synthesis than Soy protein.
Wheat protein reduces muscle anabolic response but is higher with the consumption of egg or whey protein.
However, a higher intake of meat products increases cancer mortality.
Red meat contains heme iron, cholesterol, and advanced glycation, and lipoxidation end-products that cause metabolic disorders like diabetes, cancer, etc.
One of the concerns of a plant-based diet is the fulfillment of proteins requirement.
Dietary protein intake is necessary to fulfill the body’s protein requirement.
Recent dietary guidelines reported that the RDA of protein is 0.8 g/kg body weight for adults.
The requirement of protein varies from individual to individual.
But the selection of the right protein source is necessary to decide.
Apart from this, the inclusion of following some dietary ingredients can provide cancer-preventive benefits.
Anticancer benefits of Fruits
Different research studies reported that certain dietary modifications like the inclusion of fruits and vegetables, legumes could help to prevent cancer progression.
The anti-proliferative property present in fruits is effective to provide the anticancer effect.
Proanthocyanidin is a phytochemical that comes under the polyphenol class.
Polymerized catechin, epicatechin, and epicatechin gallate are present in proanthocyanidin.
All these phytochemicals provide antioxidant, antiproliferative effects and act as a potent anticancer.
Different research studies showed that fruits enriched with proanthocyanidin, phenolic compounds, essential oil could provide anticancer activities against liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, etc.
Berries are one of the most common fruit to provide an anti-cancer effect.
But bitter melon, hawthorn, etc. also have anticancer activities.
Anticancer benefits of vegetables
Mouth, stomach, duodenum, colon, liver, lung, mammary gland, or skin cancer-preventive effect can be obtained from polyphenols containing vegetables.
They have estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity, antiproliferation, induction of cell cycle arrest or apoptosis, prevention of oxidation, induction of detoxification enzymes, and regulation of the host immune system, anti-inflammatory activity, and changes in cellular signaling.
There are four primary organosulfur phytochemicals present in garlic: S-allyl cysteine, alliin, S-methyl cysteine, and S-ethylcysteine.
S-allyl cysteine acts as an antioxidant, which regulates redox. S-allyl cysteine also has anticancer activities due to anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammation, and pro-energetic effects, and regulates signaling capacities.
S-allyl mercapto cysteine with anticancer activity inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Organosulfur compounds (OSCs) and Diallyl trisulfide (DATS) are the two bioactive phytochemicals present in garlic.
Researchers expected that presence of diallyl trisulfide in garlic mainly gives anticancer properties.
Research studies referred that this bioactive phytochemical can induce cell cycle arrest, enhance cancerous cell death, inhibit the invasive nature of cancerous cells, prevent the spreading of cancer and anti-angiogenesis.
Apart from these mechanisms, diallyl trisulfide can also regulate estrogen and androgens hormonal signaling.
They can prevent estrogen-induced breast cancer and androgen-induced prostate cancer development.
Different forms of garlic supplements like powder, aged garlic extracts are available in the market and they are effective to decrease the risk of cancer incidence.
The presence of onions A; fisetin; diosgenin; quercetin in onion has anti-cancer properties.
Chinese chive contains thiosulfinates, tuberoside M, which give cancer-preventive effect.
Cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brassicaceae family.
Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts are a few examples of cruciferous vegetables.
The glucose and amino acid content of these plants endogenously produce glucosinolates.
After ingestion, myrosinase enzymes can hydrolyze the glucosinolates and produce isothiocyanates, thiocyanates, and nitriles.
These metabolic products of glucosinolates, which are obtained from cruciferous vegetables can provide health benefits.
Research evidence showed that sulforaphane could provide a cancer-preventive effect, which is significant in the case of colorectal cancer.
The possible mechanism of action is sulforaphane may modulate miRNAs expression.
Anticancer benefits of legumes
Lupin is a good option for women having a high risk for estrogen-induced breast cancer, as it has phytoestrogens.
Caution: Individuals having a history of food allergy with other legumes and nuts should take the precautionary measure of Lupinus or avoid taking it.
Chickpeas consumption increases butyrate level.
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that can suppress cell proliferation and initiate apoptosis.
Thus, Chickpeas may decrease colorectal cancers risk. Lycopene, Biochanin A, and saponins are bioactive phytochemicals present in chickpeas that render an anti-cancer effect.
Chickpea seed coat fiber has an antioxidant effect and reduces lipid peroxidation and toxic effect.
Mono- and polyunsaturated fats such as n−3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid are antioxidants and provide cancer-protective benefits by reducing oxidative stress.