Rayshell Clapper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Cancer is a diagnosis that everyone wants to avoid. In many cases, cancer happens as a result of our lifestyle choices, while some are unfortunately genetically predisposed.
Regardless of whether cancer occurs due to genetics or lifestyle habits, there are some things we can all do to help prevent cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends certain foods to help protect against cancer. Primarily, plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans are all helpful in protecting our bodies and lowering the risks of certain cancers.
This comes first from the fact that vegetables and fruits are low in calories, and the AICR further reports that excess body fat increases the risk of seven cancers: esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney, postmenopausal breast, and gallbladder. Moreover, whole grains and beans are rich in fiber and have moderate calories. Plus, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans each are rich in minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals that have demonstrated anti-cancer effects.
For all these reasons – from weight management to vitamins, minerals, and anti-cancer effects, the AICR recommends that people fill two-thirds of their plates with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans. The United States Department of Agriculture and ChooseMyPlate.gov already recommend filling at least half your plate with fruits and veggies, so it should not be too difficult to make it two-thirds.
Those plant foods well researched and confirmed as good anti-cancer foods include the following:
• Dark green leafy veggies
• Grape juice
• Green tea
In addition, those plant foods that have recently been updated and added to the list of foods that fight cancer include the following:
• Cruciferous veggies
• Legumes (including dry beans, peas, and lentils)
• Whole grains
• Winter squash
Furthermore, the AICR expects the following foods to be added soon:
• Acai berries
• Chili peppers
• Citrus fruits (including oranges and lemons)
• Kale and other greens
• Sweet potatoes
• Watermelons and other melons
The variety of these foods makes them easy to incorporate into any diet, but the tastiness of almost all of these will make our taste buds just as happy as our bodies. Simply adding a leafy green salad and berry medley to our meals will give us the minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients our bodies need to fight cancer as well as keep us from gaining weight.
At each meal, if we just consciously incorporate more of these foods, especially those already committed to the list of foods that fight cancer (see the first two lists above), into our meals, then we will know that we are doing our level best to protect our bodies from cancer.
Although some genetically predisposed cancers are harder to protect against, the good news is that the AICR’s list of foods that fight cancer may also aid in cancer survival and treatment. In all cases, research continues actively on each of these foods.
As the AICR article states, “No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.”
Just knowing that research supports the importance of plant foods in our diets in order to protect from cancer should help us to eat more of them. Cancer is something that we should all work to avoid.