Bart C. De Jonghe, PhD, assistant professor, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, discusses the connections between nutrition and cancer.
Nutrition still needs to be studied further to understand how it impacts the way that the body works, De Jonghe says. It is known that obesity can contribute to a person’s risk of cancer, but it is unknown if there are particular dietary components that lead to an increased risk of cancer.
De Jonghe says certain nutritional deficiencies impede the body’s own defenses to repair damaged cells, which can lead to cancer. Diets that are associated with decreasing the risk of cancer are usually high in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that can combat oxidizing substances in the body, which are carcinogenic.