Tips for Reducing Your Cancer Risk

DON’T rely on pills for nutrition. Pills cannot substitute for a whole food. Foods contain much more than just vitamins and minerals. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring substances found in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains that may offer defenses against cancer.

DO drink water. You might think it is bland compared with soft drinks and coffee, but the cells in your body don’t think so. For added flavor, try adding fresh fruits, cucumber slices or lemon and lime wedges to ice-cold water.

DO eat a “mixed” breakfast. Include foods containing a little carbohydrate, a little protein and a little fat. For example, eggs and a bowl of fruit or a protein shake with soy milk and a banana includes three essential macronutrients, provides energy and tastes good too.

DON’T eat sugary foods in the morning. A burst of refined sugar on an empty stomach will trigger a flood of insulin that suppresses the immune system and feeds any abnormal cells (which exist in everyone’s body).

DO eat less fat. The average American eats the equivalent of a stick of margarine a day, most of which is hidden in processed foods. However, because some fat is necessary, try to increase your consumption of healthier fats such as plant oils (olive oil, canola oil, walnuts and flaxseed).

DON’T eat daily amounts of corn oil and soybean oil, especially if it’s hydrogenated (check food labels). These fats are immune-suppressive, and researchers are linking hydrogenated fats to increased free radicals, which are destructive to cells. For the same reason, butter is a better choice than margarine.

DO increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps maintain the health of your colon. Check food labels for high-quality fiber ingredients such as psyllium seed, psyllium husk, oat bran, mucilages, gums and pectin. Remember to drink more water while increasing fiber intake.

DO eat nutrient-dense foods every day. Try to regularly consume yogurt, orange vegetables (carrots, squash and sweet potatoes), vegetables in the cabbage family, tomatoes, citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. Remember, go for color- the deeper the color of a fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients it provides.

-Courtesy of Crystal Langlois, RD, CSO, LD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Newnan, GA,

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