The incidence of stomach cancer has dropped significantly in recent years. Researchers attribute this trend in part to a reduction in dietary risk factors among the general population. Even so, stomach cancer still occurs. To help protect yourself, there are some preventive steps you can take, such as making a few simple changes to your diet.
Dietary changes to reduce your risk of stomach cancer
A healthy, plant-based diet can help ward off many types of cancer, including stomach cancer. Specifically, the American Cancer Society recommends consuming:
- Plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit, which contain both vitamin C (which can neutralize cancer-causing free radicals) and flavonoids (which can inhibit cancerous cells from invading healthy tissues)
- Carrots and sweet potatoes, which contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant
- Whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals (in place of refined grains)
- Fish, poultry and beans (in place of processed and red meats)
- Garlic, onions, shallots, leaks and scallions, which contain allicin, a natural cancer-fighter
- Green tea, which contains polyphenols that may prevent or delay some types of cellular damage
Antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins A, C and E, can potentially reduce the risk of stomach cancer in individuals who have poor dietary nutrition. However, experts believe it is more beneficial to meet your nutritional needs through a healthy, balanced diet whenever possible.
The American Cancer Society also recommends maintaining a healthy body weight by balancing caloric intake with physical activity. In addition to reducing stomach cancer risk, weight loss and regular exercise can enhance overall health and well-being.
If you’d like to discuss your stomach cancer risk factors and develop a prevention strategy with an oncologist in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can request an appointment with or without a referral. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online.