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Change your Diet to Prevent Cervical Cancer

May 14, 2014

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Recently, I’ve had several conversations with friends who have had an abnormal pap in the last year. Chances are, if you’re in your mid 20’s, you know someone who has, too, if you haven’t had one yourself. And more often than not, HPV is the culprit. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is one of the most common STDs in America, currently affecting some 79 million Americans.  Most of the time, if your pap comes back irregular, your gynecologist will test your cervical cells, confirm that your body will be able to flush out the infection on its own, and book you for a follow-up appointment. With any luck, in six months, the HPV will be cleared.

But in some cases, your body can’t get rid of the virus and it worsens. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer, but it does mean you are one step closer to it. There is a way to remove the infected cells via laser surgery, but this poses a high risk for future infertility. Though this may be your best choice if your viral infection is in its late stages, those who catch the virus early on have some other options.  In fact, for most early to mid stages of HPV, the spread of infected cells can be stopped and even reversed with a highly nutritious anti-cancer diet.  

The general anti-cancer diet is very high in fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and low in meat, dairy, wheat, and sugar. While this diet can reduce your risk for all types of cancer—along with your overall health—there are some foods that are specifically beneficial for cervical cancer prevention. Here are some of the top foods to add to your diet if you’ve been diagnosed with HPV or are concerned about your cervical cancer risk:

Green Tea

Green tea is very effective at stopping the spread of cancerous cells. It contains power nutrients called catechins, which help reduce the number of cancerous cells by suppressing the formation of the blood vessels that feed them. This nutrient is specific to green tea, as it doesn’t survive the fermentation process of black tea.

Strawberries

Foods that are rich in folate are thought to be good for cervical and ovarian cancer prevention, although research is still being done to support this theory, specific into how folates can diminish HPV cells. Other foods high in folate include avocado, chickpeas, and romaine lettuce. Strawberries are particularly great because berries are very high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. 

Onions

Fun fact: White fruits and vegetables are known for their anti-cancer properties. Onions, and other white vegetables like garlic, are very high in flavonoids, which are thought to be cancer-preventing. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the shape of a vegetable can indicate what part of the body it benefits. Round onions are beneficial for ovarian or cervical cancer prevention, while mushrooms are good for breast cancer prevention.

Carrots

Carrots, and the carotenoids they provide, are good for more than just your eyesight. Orange vegetables are also very high in vitamin A, which has been shown to help prevent the spread of cervical cancer. Along with carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are other great additions to your diet.

Turmeric

This spice has so many benefits, but cancer prevention is probably one of the most important! Its anti-inflammatory properties helps to keep your cervical cells healthy and cancerous cells at bay.

Millions of people test positive for HPV every year, and even though most cases are not cancerous, it’s important to take preventative measures to protect yourself again the spread of cervical cancer cells. Incorporating these foods into your diet is a great step toward ensuring your future cervical health.

Have you or anyone close to you had an experience with pre-cancer HPV? Do you have any cancer fighting foods to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments section below!