Nutrition and Cancer Prevention
Many of you reading this know someone who has been affected by cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, there have been an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2016. So what can we do? We can do a lot actually. We can reduce our risk for cancer greatly by simply eating a little bit better.
The nutrition guidelines for preventing cancer are similar to those for preventing diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Here are some general guidelines that you can follow to help reduce your risk for cancer:
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight is 1 in 5 cancer-related deaths. Cancers that are associated with obesity include breast, colorectal, esophageal, thyroid, liver, ovarian, prostate, kidney and gallbladder.
If you are overweight, losing weight can reduce risk of cancer by as much as 20%. This is likely due to a drop in inflammatory factors that are stored in the fat.
2. Limit calorie-dense foods.
Reduction of intake of foods with added sugars and fats that are solid at room temperature (butter, coconut oil, lard, etc.) can help reduce risk for cancer as well. Eating foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, processed snacks and desserts can quickly add calories, increasing weight gain and causing nutrient deficiency.
3. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Eating enough (about 7) servings of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked to a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which are cancer and free-radical fighting agents.
Create a goal to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Or go meatless for at least one meal per week. Also, eating more whole grains will increase your fiber, keeping your gut healthy and you full longer.
4. Limit intake of animal foods.
There are some studies that are able to link eating large amounts of red meat, especially processed meats, with colon cancer.
Think of animal foods as a side dish, focusing on lean cuts from local sources.
5. Limit Alcohol
All types of alcohol may increase your risk for many cancers, including mouth, live, breast, colon, and esophagus. If consuming alcohol, limit to one drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks for men.
6. Eat less salt.
In those cultures that eat a lot of salt preserved meats and salt pickled foods, the risk for stomach, nasopharyngeal and throat cancers is higher. Salt can increase blood pressure and can increase the risk for heart disease.
Start limiting salt by getting rid of the salt shaker off the table and limiting the amount of processed foods eaten. Look at the nutrition facts label for 300mg of sodium or less for a meal item and 150mg or less for a snack item.
7. Exercise regularly.
Exercising, or moving regularly can aid in keeping your heart healthy and your bones strong. Exercise also releases hormones that make you feel happy and energetic. Studies have consistently found that increasing physical activity can reduce the risk for some cancers by 30-40%.
So, in summary, exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting alcohol, meat and processed foods can greatly decrease your risk for most types of cancer.
Here is a recipe to help you get started!
· 1 head romaine lettuce
· 1 red bell pepper, chopped
· 1 avocado, chopped
· 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
· 1 cup blueberries
· ½ cup walnuts, roasted
· 3, 2, 1 Dressing (see recipe below)
1. Combine all vegetables together in a large bowl.
2. Drizzle 3, 2, 1 dressing over top.
3, 2, 1 Dressing
· 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
· 2 Tbsp. mustard of choice
· 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.�����
Whether you’ve fully adopted a plant-based diet or are simply dipping your toes in the water, there’s no doubt that wholesome food is at the center of one’s wellbeing.
Here we’ve rounded up five of our favorite cookbooks that are chock full of nourishing recipes and nutrition tips that are sure to assist in your healthy eating goals:
1. Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook
If you watched the Forks Over Knives documentary (read more about it here , along with the rest of our top documentary picks), you know what FOK is all about – the concept that degenerative diseases afflicting so much of the U.S. today can be controlled and even reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. This cookbook features 300+ plant-based recipes which place fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes in the lime light.
2. The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes
This cookbook came to fruition thanks to The China Study; a book touting one of the most comprehensive nutrition studies ever conducted which reveals that a plant-based diet leads to optimal health and can halt or even reverse many diseases. The China Study Cookbook shares 120+ plant-based, nutrient-dense recipes that promote optimal health.
3. The PlantPure Nation Cookbook: The Official Companion Cookbook to the Breakthrough Film
PlantPure Nation, yet another noteworthy documentary created by the same producers as Forks Over Knives, provides this trusty companion cookbook boasting 150+ plant-centric recipes. It’s also filled with tips, tricks, and grocery lists for people interested in a whole food, plant-based diet.
4. Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes
Inspire healthful, plant-based eating among the whole family with this must-have cookbook from Dreena Burton. From delicious school lunches to appetizing on-the-go snacks, this book supplies more than 100 kid-tested and approved recipes and serves as an excellent reference for parents raising young ones on a whole food, vegan diet.
5. Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Don’t let the risqué title of this one deter you. Author and cancer survivor Kris Carr attributes her triumph over cancer to her lifestyle changes, most especially her diet. After embracing a diet made up of whole, plant-based foods, she soon discovered the transformative power of nutrition and felt better than she ever had. This cookbook offers 150+ recipes that includes everything from fresh-pressed juices to delectable desserts.
Also recommended: Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, But I Could Never Go Vegan
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