Diet Impacts Risk for Cervical Cancer

More women have cervical cancer than any other type of gynecologic cancer. Numerous medical research studies have found credible evidence linking a woman’s diet to her risk of developing cancers like cervical cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, around 14,000 women received a cervical cancer diagnosis in 2022. Of all these cases, approximately 99.7% of them were attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.

Routine HPV and pap testing allow doctors to detect cervical cancer or precancer, even if the woman experiences no symptoms. However, an HPV-infected woman engaging in risky behavior like smoking, unsafe sexual practices, and poor diet can cause HPV to worsen into something like cervical cancer.

How Diet and Nutrition Increase the Risk of Cervical Cancer

Good nutrition strengthens the immune system because your body absorbs the vital antioxidant nutrients needed to stimulate it.

A robust immune system will have a better chance of eradicating an HPV infection within two years of the initial infection date. Once this happens, the virus will not have enough time to worsen and cause cervical cancer to develop.

Unfortunately, Western diets have poor nutritional value and increase the risk of inflammation in the body. These diets consist of foods containing added sugars, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fats. Then, if you combine that with a sedentary lifestyle and an HPV infection, the risk of cervical cancer development increases even more.

If you want to avoid this from happening to you, the best thing to do is go on a Mediterranean-style diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, fish, and healthy fats. These foods contain many essential immune-boosting antioxidants like lutein, carotenoids, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.

Regularly consuming foods with these antioxidants will significantly reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Best Foods to Consume for Cervical Health

Many health studies indicate a daily consumption of 100 grams of fruit or 100 grams of vegetables can significantly reduce a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer.

You do not necessarily have to go on the Mediterranean diet to reduce inflammation in the body, but at least a similar diet. Here are the food choices you should add to your anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Low-fat dairy (e.g., yogurt, cheese, milk)
  • Spices and herbs (e.g., garlic, onions)
  • Olive oils, nuts, and seeds
  • Whole grain rice bread and pasta
  • Fruits of various textures and colors
  • Vegetables of different textures and colors
  • Beans, peas, and lentils

You could also take a daily multivitamin supplement to support your immune system further.

Foods You Should NOT Consume

The Western diet is highly inflammatory because it consists of processed meats, high-sugar foods, red meats, and foods with lots of trans fats and saturated fats. These pro-inflammatory foods eliminate good bacteria in your digestive system and cause more harmful bacteria to rise. As a result, inflammation and cancer risk both rise.

Sugary and salty foods are highly inflammatory and low in dietary fiber. It is the worst combination for anyone wishing to maintain a healthy immune system. That is why you must do everything possible to avoid consuming too many sugary and salty foods and beverages. If you can avoid them altogether, that is even better.

In addition, menopausal women have a higher risk of cancer when they consume between 100 and 200 grams of red meat daily. This is due to the high amounts of trans fats and saturated fats in these animal-based food products.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

If you can maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, you will have the best chances of avoiding cervical cancer, even if you have an HPV infection. Please don’t rely on home remedies or easy solutions to prevent cervical cancer because they don’t exist. It all depends on your diet and lifestyle habits.

Talk to your doctor if you have further questions about your diet’s link to cervical cancer.