Accounting for approximately 30 percent of all childhood cancers, leukemia affects bone marrow and blood. While rates steadily declined from 1975 through 2013, it's still a disease that's the most common cancer in children and teens. Plus, it can be difficult to manage and eliminate once it's detected. For this reason, anything that can minimize the risk of developing childhood leukemia is sure to be much-appreciated by parents. Researchers believe certain bright-colored fruits and an exotic spice may help with such efforts.
Oranges, Bananas, and Orange Juice
Based on the results of a leukemia study that lasted for nearly a decade, researchers determined that a combination of oranges and/or bananas and orange juice during the first few years of life minimized the risk of developing leukemia. Specifically, this risk was reduced from the ages of two through fourteen. All it takes is two glasses of orange juice to boost the body's vitamin C concentration by as much as 64 percent.
Vitamin C, in particular, provides added protection against inflammation. This extra protection may help reduce cancer risk since many types of cancer, including leukemia. tend to develop around areas of infection and inflammation. Bananas are loaded with antioxidants that provide added cell protection.
Oranges and other citrus fruits also have antioxidant properties that may inhibit irregular cell development and growth by keeping the immune system strong and healthy. On a side note, researchers did not find a link between hot dogs and other lunch meats and childhood leukemia, although it's generally a good idea for parents to encourage healthy eating habits and stress the importance of moderation.
Another study involving the popular Asian spice turmeric noted that childhood leukemia is far less common in Asian countries. The exact cause of leukemia isn't known. However, it's believed diet can play an important role in the prevention of many types of cancer. It's turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, that may be part of the reason why this spice has protective properties. Turmeric is also a tasty spice that's well-tolerated by most children. Additional spices and herbs that may lessen the risk of developing cancer include:
- Garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions
- Black and cayenne pepper
- Oregano, which contains a molecule (carvacrol) that may offset the spread of cancerous cells
Making changes to diet habits isn't the only thing parents may be able to reduce the risk of childhood leukemia. There's also research suggesting regular exercise may help stabilize levels of certain hormones that sometimes contribute to cell abnormalities. However, it's still important for parents to be proactive and seek input from a doctor or specialist if symptoms that may include poor appetite and unexplained bone and joint pain are observed.