Cancer-fighting Foods: A Healthy Diet is Your Key to Prevention
Can diet really make a difference when it comes to cancer?
Whether you have a history of cancer in your family, or are currently fighting the disease, lifestyle choices such as diet plays a vital role.
By making smart food choices, your body will be more prepared to maintain good health, and increase your ability to fight diseases like cancer.
Although not all health issues are preventable, we have more control of our own health than we may often realize.
“The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Policy Report notes that it appears many common cancers may be prevented through better diet and exercise,” says Timothy O’Brien, MD, chairman of Hematology/Oncology and director of the MetroHealth Cancer Care Center.
Whether through exercising, quitting smoking or eating less processed foods, we have the power to make a difference in our health.
|Cancer-Fighting Trio: Veggies, Fruits & Whole Grains
When it comes to diet, researchers have identified foods that are cancer fighters as well as those that can increase cancer risk.
“No food alone can decrease cancer risk. We need to focus on consuming a variety of plant foods and reduce our intake of meat,” says Rochelle Smith, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, MetroHealth Clinical Nutrition Services.
“The best diet for preventing cancer is mainly plant-based and includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains,” she says. “Plant foods are low in fat, contain fiber and are filled with cancer-fighting nutrients. This trio works together to support your immune system, helps your body fight off cancer and keep calories low.”
When portioning your plate, it is recommended that two-thirds of the plate be filled with whole grains, vegetables, beans or fruit. Dairy products, fish and meat should take up no more than a third of the plate.
Making the change from a meat-based diet to a plant based diet can be challenging. Remember, this does not mean you have to become vegetarian! Start slowly by making sure you have one or two plant-based foods at each meal.
- Slow-cooked oatmeal with blueberries and chopped walnuts
- Slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter topped with fresh peach slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Lentil or black bean soup prepared with vegetables
- Grain salad: Cooked whole grains such as whole wheat noodles, brown rice or quinoa mixed with both cooked and raw vegetables, kidney beans or chick peas tossed with fresh herbs and a light vinaigrette dressing
- Whole grain noodles tossed with vegetables such as spinach, red pepper slices, sliced mushrooms simmered in a marinara sauce
- 2-4 ounces of marinated broiled salmon, vegetable blend of broccoli and cauliflower, brown rice
- Low-fat yogurt with berries
- Small handful of raw almonds with apple slices
- Hummus with baby carrots
- Celery sticks spread with natural peanut butter
- Fruit smoothie
|More Cancer Prevention Diet Tips
Bulk up on fiber
Aim for 20-25 grams of dietary fiber each day. One of the most important benefits of fiber is that it helps food move through the digestive tract at a quicker rate; this also helps with regular elimination. Good sources are whole grain cereals, breads and pasta, cooked dried beans and legumes, nuts, popcorn, berries, baked potato with skin and vegetables.
Choose Fats Wisely
Stay away from saturated and trans fats – use unsaturated fats and oils which come from plant sources such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Choose Cancer-Fighting Foods
Select whole foods- foods that have undergone very little or no processing. Eat brightly colored fruits/vegetables. Add flavor with immune-boosting herbs and spices such as garlic, onions, fresh ginger, rosemary, cilantro and turmeric.
Get more cancer prevention tips.
|MetroHealth Cancer Care Center
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