I wish I wish I wish that there were some type of food or ingredient that could wholly (holy?) protect the human body against cancer. BUT… the Silver Lining is that research shows that your overall diet offers the best protection for your body against cancer. The most important thing is to eat beaucoup vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and beans because each of these food groups has amazing anti-cancer effects.
Because you know how much I love lists, here are 5 ways to help your diet be the best protection for your body against cancer:
- Focus on plant-based foods: This means eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and beans. Plants have more fiber and less fat that most other foods, which is why they are the most nutritious for you. Plant-based foods are low in fat and high in fiber, allowing them to support your immune system and help your body fight off cancer. Try to buy organic produce as much as possible in order to avoid pesticies and other chemicals that strip the plant of its nutrients.
- Bulk up on fiber: Fiber is the part of plants (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that your body can’t digest. Therefore, fiber keeps your digestive system clean as well as helps food move through your digest tract smoothly. This means that fiber also moves cancer-causing compounds out of your body before they can create any harm. So bulk up!! Eat more brown rice, whole-grain bread and pasta, fruit, vegetables, and beans.
- Cut down on meat: This one was definitely the hardest for me in the beginning becasuse I really love hamburgers! BUT… research shows that vegetartians are 50% less likely to develop cancer. Why you ask? FAT!! Meat has (dangerously) high levels of saturated fat, which has been linked to higher rates of cancer. You don’t have to cut out meat completely from your diet but you should try to keep eating meat to a minimum.
- Keep the total amount of meat in your diet to less than 15% of your total calories.
- Eat red meat only occasionally.
- Reduce the portion size of meat in each meal. (The portion should be able to fit into the palm of your hand)
- Use meat as a flavoring or side, not the entree.
- Add beans and other plant-based protein sources to your meals
- Avoid processed meats such as hotdogs, sausauge, salami, and deli meats.
- Choose leaner meats such as fish, chicken, or turkey.
- If you choose to cut meat out completely (which I have), the Silver Linings are the benefits to the poor little animals AND the environment!
- Choose your fats wisely
While it is great to cut out most of the fat in your diet, it is not beneficial for you to cut it all entirely. In fact, some fats actually protect your body against cancer. The trick is to know which fats are good for you and which are bad. Fats that increase your risk of cancer incluse saturate fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as eggs, whole milk, and red meat. Trans fats are created by adding hydrogen liquid to vegetable ouls to make them last longer and not spoil. This is great for manufactures and VERY BAD for you. The best fats are unsaturated fats which come from plant sources and are liquid at room temperature. These include olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts.
- Reduce your consumption of red meat, whole milk, butter, and eggs as these are all saturated fats.
- Cook with olice oil instead of regular vegetable oil.
- Check the ingredient list on food labels and avoid anything with hydrogenated oils.
- Trim the fat off meat.
- Add nuts, seeds, and flaxseed oil to your diet.
- Limit fast food, fried foods, and packaged foods.
- Eat fish once or twice a week.
- Choose cancer-fighting foods: Try to eat as colorful as possible! By eating more fruits and vegatables you will boost your antioxidant intake, which helps your cells to function properly as well as protect your body against cancer. The greater the variety of colors that you include in your diet, the more you will benefit from their rich disease-fighting and immune-boosting nutrients. Also, try flavoring your food with immune-boosing spices and foods such as garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, basil, rosemary, and coriander.