Nutrition, cancer and cardiovascular diseases


Authors: L. Novotný;  I. Holcátová;  V. Bencko
Authors‘ workplace: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, 1. LF UK + VFN Praha ;  Ústav hygieny a epidemiologie ;  Přednosta: prof. MUDr. Vladimír Bencko, DrSc.
Published in: Prakt. Lék. 2009; 89(5): 230-237
Category: Various Specialization

Overview

The authors summarize the effects of diet and the risk of common chronic diseases (cancer and cardiovascular diseases) in which the predominant common dietary risk factor is an energy input-output imbalance (obesity, lack of physical activity and a disproportionate dietary intake of the main nutrients) and a deficit of natural antioxidants and chemoprotective substances. Although diet is considered one of the main determinants of health, obvious relationships between specific foods or certain dietary habits and chronic diseases are rarely found (alcohol). Apart from excessive consumption of for instance red meat and fats, more risky components of food can be formed during its processing (smoking and packing of meat, industrially prepared trans forms of fatty acids) or kitchen preparation at high temperatures (heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Another danger is contamination of food by xenobiotics (pesticides, aphlatoxins, alkylated heavy metals in fish).

In a number of chronic diseases there is a proven protective effect from the consumption of vegetables and fruits as the main natural sources of antioxidants and chemoprotective substances.

Examples of interventional studies with beta-carotene supplementation showed how encouraging results of conventional observational or cases control studies may be mistaken. A better scientific approach to show a relationship between dietary factors and health/diseases are randomised controlled studies or an observational study with Mendelian randomisation and multicentric studies. It can definitively be stated that there is no one meal that can, by itself, prevent cancers and other chronic conditions including cardiovascular diseases. There is not even a universal treatment diet. Thus, it is essential to consume a diet which is as diverse as possible to dilute and thereby reduce the risk of uncontrolled intake of potentially dangerous substances. Physical activity must form an important part of lifestyle, without which, dieting - for instance for the purpose of losing weight - is practically inefficient.

Key words:
nutrition, diversiform diet, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, primary prevention, obesity.


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