Cancer prevention at the table with Anna Villarini

Cancer prevention at the table with Anna Villarini

Feel, smell, select scrupulously. And then, finally, put it in the cart.


Expenditure thus understood refers to a responsibility that we think we have lost, that of personally ensure the quality of the food to bring to our table. 


Yet we are not too sorry. They are everywhere the solutions that the company offers us to gladly relieve ourselves of this task: we order dinner through the app, we reconcile time with friends and the need for a meal by organizing brunches and aperitifs for clubs, we do the weekly shopping online and if we can't go home between one engagement and another, save ourselves there will be some street food.


These increasingly widespread habits do not fit in at all with the importance of a healthy lifestyle that protects our health


However, there is a solution, and it is within everyone's reach. To suggest it is Anna Villarini, nutritionist and researcher at the Cancer Institute of Milan, expert in food prevention against oncological diseases. 


"Let's go back to cooking - Villarini recommends -. It is true that the frenetic rhythms of daily life do not allow us to dedicate all the time we would like to preparing meals for us and for the people we live with, but to do an adequate shopping, choose the ingredients and create our own dish to bring in. table is a first, very important, form of prevention because in this way we will know what we are eating".


The danger of "fast food" products

According to the estimates of the European code against cancer, 30% of cancers would be preventable with proper nutrition. 


Ma it is not easy to escape the "traps" that are hidden in the aisles of a supermarket or on food labels.


The World Cancer Research Fund gives us an important recommendation, which is to limit fast food - explains the researcher -: This term does not mean only the products of some restaurant chains. More generally, all foods on the market ready to be eaten belong to this category. 


these products are too processed, and so depleted of micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) but rich in starches, salt, simple sugars and fats: they are made, for example, with refined flours that have lost all those important fiber nutrients contained in whole grains. Generally these 'ready-made' dishes, being highly processed, tend above all to make us fat instead of nourishing us adequately.


Unfortunately, the Western population is eating too many of them ”.


Mediterranean nutrition and health

La scientific research is giving ample confirmation on the validity of the Mediterranean diet as the most preventive and protective for our health - continues the nutritionist -. 


At the base of the pyramid of the Mediterranean scheme we find whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit and even a little bit of nuts; vegetables and fruit should be consumed in season and of different colors while for cereals it is important to vary often: yes, therefore, also to alternatives such as quinoa or millet to be interspersed with the consumption of strictly wholemeal pasta, rice and bread.


In this diet they are also important foods of animal origin: the fish takes precedence as this diet originates in the sea areas where this food has always been the most readily available source of protein ".



Lifestyles and cancers

An active life associated with a healthy diet can further ward off the risk of some types of cancer: according to the estimates of the most recent studies, a regular physical activity daily, one healthy nutrition e not smoking would reduce the incidence of new cancer cases by 50%. 


In particular, some incorrect habits it is shown to have a direct correlation with certain oncological pathologies. 


Lung cancer is much more frequent in smokers - Villarini remembers - while stomach cancer and the colorectal are more associated with the consumption of preserved meats


Other forms, on the other hand, develop more strongly when we have a 'chronic inflammation within the body, that is when they become numerous of the molecules linked to inflammatory processes.


Nutrition conditions the production of these inflammatory factors by making them increase and in particular the'western' nutrition, rich in animal food and very low in plant food.


Also abdominal obesity is dangerous because excess abdominal fat produces many substances that are dangerous to health. 


To estimate if we have accumulated too much fat in the belly it is good measure your waist 2 cm above the navel: the reference levels for the circumference of the waist are no more than 94 cm for men and 84 cm for women. 


This is not about the silhouette, it's about one more prevention tool".


Fight against cancer: between scientific research and tools for citizens

If we can talk about "Healing" in oncology, confirms the numerous advances made by scientific research in the field of care. 


“At the national level we can count a 27% of people recovered from cancer - comments Anna Villarini - while until a few years ago there was no talk of healing. The figure is even more relevant when compared to the fact that today more people get sick than 30 years ago. 


Today's therapies are increasingly targeted for each particular tumor form and for the particular type of cell involved. There personalized therapy it is proving to be more and more effective and involves fewer side effects. 


The other important front of study is the early diagnosis, essential for effective treatment: the earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the fear is treated. 


This is why it is very important adhere to screening. The most important on which the National Health System reminds us are the Pap test for i cervical cancers; mammography for the breast cancer and exams for the colorectal cancer".


Citizens today have the internet to get information. Or to believe in hoaxes. How to orient yourself, then, in the search for useful information for your health?


"The sites of the major Oncological Institutes are certainly reliable because each content has been studied in depth and certified by those who study these issues every day - the researcher reassures - but not only: various newspapers are committed to providing valid and understandable insights to the public in order to sensitize the population e raise awareness of risks connected to incorrect lifestyles. 


Again, newspapers and institutions do a great deal of information on the services available to the citizen for treatment and prevention. My advice is to try to draw information from serious and accredited sources distrusting charlatans or by improvised healers ”.



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