Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help protect you from developing cervical cancer. How? Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Experts believe that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with their antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, and folate can help the body fight HPV infection and prevent HPV infection from becoming cancerous.
Flavonoids are chemical compounds in fruits and vegetables that are thought to be a leading source protection against cancer. The following are just a few examples of flavonoid-rich foods to consider adding to your diet:
- Black beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Lima beans
Studies suggest that foods rich in folate (a water-soluble B vitamin) reduce the risk of cervical cancer in people with HPV. However, researchers do not yet know how folate might affect cancer risk. It is possible that folate helps the body stop HPV infection from coming back repeatedly, which decreases the risk of developing cancer.
Foods rich in folate include:
- Fortified cereals and breads
- Orange juice
- Romaine lettuce
Some studies suggest that carotenoids, a source of vitamin A, are also helpful in preventing cervical cancer risk. In addition to the fruits, vegetables, and beans on the lists above, you could also include orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash in your diet.