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.�����
One of our recent CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) graduates, Joe, was kind enough to share his success story with us.
Since completing the 12-week course, Joe has a renewed vigor for life (and cooking, to boot!) He’s dropped excessed weight, dramatically reduced his cholesterol, and now has an abundance of energy he didn’t before.
Read about his personal journey:
Family history is cause for concern…
Prior to CHIP, I always had tried to minimize intake of red meats (opting for mostly poultry, pork, and fish), salts, sugars, butter, egg yolks, etc., and drinking only skim milk. Heart disease runs in my family. I lost my dad at age 57 after a quintuple bypass and a valve replacement. His four brothers all had open heart surgery or angioplasty with placement of stents in their 50’s/60’s. My own brother, who is quite active, had his first heart attack at age 55. I also have several cousins who have had heart attacks around 50 years of age.
I turned 50 in August of this year. I had been taking baby aspirin as a precautionary measure.
Wake up call…
I had a bit of an awakening in mid-July when a sore calf muscle ended up being the only symptom for a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in main vein in my leg) and bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots broke free from the leg, traveled through the heart, and lodged in both lungs). After the fact, I was told how lucky I was and that many people die from this.
On my way to a fishing trip in late July, I got a call from a good friend saying she was considering taking a class called “CHIP” and thought it might be a good match for me. She sent me the info, and also borrowed me a book titled “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.” I began reading the book and then attended the information session for the CHIP class.
Deciding to take the CHIP-plunge…
Ultimately, I signed up to take the CHIP class.
During my very first CHIP class, I received a call from my vascular specialist telling me that my arterial plaque build-up was not terrible, but that it was more than there should be for a male that is 50 years of age. He recommended that, although my blood cholesterol did not exceed 200, that I begin taking statins immediately. At that point, I countered his proposal.
I told him what I was going to attempt through whole food, plant-based eating and that I would like 3-4 months to drop 25lbs, and attempt to get my total blood cholesterol below 150. He agreed that that was a great approach. Most people are reliant on the quick fix, i.e. the drugs, and don’t address the underlying cause.
Let the [CHIP] journey begin…
I completely threw the switch to no meat, no fish, no dairy, no processed grains or sugars… Within two weeks, I began to notice the loss of my excess weight, my energy level was increasing, and I was getting an increase in mental clarity. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of foods and the phenomenal taste. Initially I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to be so sick of beans.’ But here’s the kicker … the recipes fold in various ingredients where you’d least expect it… Caesar salad dressing, the best I’ve ever had, and yes, made with garbanzo beans! Chocolate chip cookie dough, the kind you don’t bake … again, made with garbanzo beans. The soups, the stews, the main dishes… crazy delicious! Turns out, I love to cook! Banana pancakes, waffles, nachos with cashew cheese, sweet potato black bean stew… all the fresh ingredients… Your taste buds change and begin to pick up on flavors that you never knew existed.
Each class begins with a meal prepared by volunteers who are helping to promote better health through whole food, plant-based eating. Each class has a theme -- heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, etc. There are guest speakers, grocery store tours, food preparation demos, recipe sharing, interaction with the other “CHIPers,” plus more.
The results are in…
Over the course of 12 weeks (18 sessions), not only do you note that you feel better, but everyone in the class shows physical signs of weight loss … faces slimming down, clothes fitting looser, people in general happier.
In the first six weeks, my total cholesterol dropped 10%, and I was down 12 pounds, despite eating like a horse. No calorie counting, no buying premade meals from some plan, almost everything from raw ingredients.
I can’t say enough about this class … best money I’ve spent, hands down. It will pay for itself in reduced health care bills, not to mention the reduction in food costs due to no longer eating out as much. Even better, rather than being on a slow health decline as we age, you actually have that energy to be interactive with kids, grandkids … living your best life possible, enjoying it rather than enduring it.
Spreading the word…
I share my newly acquired knowledge with everyone … family, friends, nurses where I get my blood tests done, random people at a music concert, my dentist and dental hygienist, co-workers … Many see my excitement and are planning to attend the next information session to learn more.
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It’s your turn! Are you interested in having your own success story to share with others? Attend our next FREE informational session about CHIP on Monday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m, at Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rochester. Food sample provided!
You can also learn more about the program on our website at www.rochesterclinic.com/chip1
Healthcare costs in the U.S. are on the rise. It is estimated that 70-80% of healthcare costs are due to chronic disease, and the main reason for a trip to the doctor.
Exactly what is chronic disease and what can you do about it? Chronic diseases are conditions that cannot be prevented or cured by vaccinations or medications, nor do they go away on their own.
Common chronic diseases:
● Elevated cholesterol
● Type 2 diabetes
● Coronary heart disease
● High blood pressure
However, living significantly longer and increasing quality of life is a reality, even for those with these chronic diseases. Modifications in lifestyle will lessen and potentially eliminate chronic conditions, and therefore increase quality of life and reduce medical expenses. You have the power to take charge of your health. This is lifestyle medicine.
Lifestyle modifications include:
● Plant-based, whole food diet and nutrition
● Physical activity
● Stress reduction
● Family/social support network
For more information on Rochester Clinic, the services and programs we offer, please give us a call at
We are happy to answer your questions and get you on your way to a healthy life!
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
What are some of your favorite cookbooks? Share on our Facebook page !