How to live longer: The 55p ingredient that may prevent the development of certain cancers

According to the latest available statistics, cancer causes 165,000 deaths in the UK every year - that's around 450 every day. Despite raising billions and recruiting the best minds to the job, a cure has not been found. While frustration and despondency is a natural response, it is helpful to understand why cancer and the mechanisms that cause it are a complex beast.

Part of the challenge lies in cancer's evolving nature, as research body Cancer Research body Worldwide explains.

"Over time in every patient cancer cells undergo a myriad of molecular and genetic changes," says the research outfit.

As it points out, these changes shift what the cancer cells look like and how they behave - it makes them more resilient, more aggressive and more deadly.

A cure may be out of sight but research continues to shed light on the myriad ways to reduce the risk.

Butyrate is a fatty acid that has been studied for its potential to reduce inflammation in colon cells, possibly decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

Furthermore, chickpeas are a source of saponins, which are plant compounds that may help prevent the development of certain cancers, according to nutritional research.

What's more, saponins have been studied for their role in inhibiting tumour growth.

Chickpeas also contain several vitamins and minerals that may lower your risk of cancer, including B vitamins, which may be responsible for reducing the risk of breast and lung cancer, research suggests.

Cancer - what to avoid

Research is unequivocal about the unhealthy lifestyle habits that will raise your risk of cancer.

Smoking poses one of the gravest threats, accounting for more than one in four cancer deaths in the UK, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Breathing in other people's smoke (passive smoking) also increases your risk of developing cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, the second biggest preventable cause of cancer is obesity.

As the charity explains, more than one in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight.

What's more, the risk is higher the more weight a person gains and the longer they are overweight for, it warns.

How to tackle obesity

"If you're obese, speak to your GP for advice about losing weight safely," advises the NHS.

It adds: "Your GP can advise you about losing weight safely by eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity."

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