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The HealthStyle File- The Anti-Cancer Diet

Diet and lifestyle guide for cancer prevention:

  1. Green tea. Some scientists believe that a chemical in green tea called EGCG could be one of the most powerful anticancer compounds ever discovered.
  2. Berries, all types. Organic is best because it is difficult to wash the pesticides from the berries. This is due to the way the berries grow (strawberries).
  3. Cruciferous veggies. These include broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
  4. Beans and lentils. Excellent vitamin content and great fiber.
  5. Flaxseed. Research shows that Flaxseed contains an arsenal of cancer fighting compounds.
  6. Turmeric (curry spice). This spice has been shown to be an excellent helper in the fight against breast and prostate cancer.
  7. Low fat diet.
  8. Quit smoking.
  9. Stay active.
  10. Cut back on red meat.
  11. Eat high fiber foods and stay away from high glycemic foods (low fiber/high sugar).
  12. Antioxidants, especially resveratrol, a natural antioxidant component of red grapes (yes that also means red wine).
  13. Lignans-I know, what’s a lignan?  These substances come from produce/plant foods. For example: flaxseed, whole grains, berries, veggies and fruits.
  14. Apples! They have a good amount of phytochemicals, which help to fight the war on cancer.
  15. Add garlic to everything you eat. Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer, and may have the potential to reduce tumor growth.
  16. Mix half a cup of blueberries into your morning cereal. Blueberries rank number one in terms of their antioxidant power. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are unstable compounds that can damage cells and lead to diseases including cancer.
  17. Buy organic foods. They’re grown without added pesticides or hormones, both of which can cause cellular damage that may eventually lead to cancer.
  18. Talk to your health care professional about taking a vitamin D supplement. Studies have shown that cancer rates are higher in areas of the country with long winters and less sunlight. Talk to your doctor about getting a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D levels.
  19. Exercise! Studies show that exercise can be protective in the fight against cancer.
  20. Advice Helps! Giving breast cancer survivors nutrition advice does more than just impact their diet and eating patterns; it may also give them a psychological boost at a time when they are particularly prone to anxiety and depression. Nine months after the end of a nutrition-advice intervention program, participants display better physical functioning and are less likely to show signs of depression than those who receive no intervention.  Journal of Clinical Oncology, August 2005.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • A bowl of high fiber/protein cereal with ½ cup of blueberries and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed.
  • Scrambled free range organic eggs in a whole wheat tortilla with black beans and cheddar cheese.
  • ½ of a whole grain bagel, with low fat cream cheese, lox, capers and chopped onions.
  • Green tea with the above mentioned meal ideas.

Snack Ideas:

  • An ounce of pumpkin seeds and half of a banana.
  • Apple and handful of almonds or walnuts.
  • I would suggest a cup of green tea with the above mentioned snack.  It does have some caffeine, so better in the morning than later in the day if you’re sensitive to its effects. It’s also a fantastic source of high potency polyphenols (trust me, that’s a good thing) to help boost your immune system.

Lunch Ideas:

  • Open faced burrito (no tortilla). Load it up with black beans, lean chicken, avocado, grilled peppers/onions and fresh salsa.
  • Grilled salmon with spinach salad and brown rice.
  • Veggie stir fry with colorful veggies such as bell peppers, squash, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms (perhaps not colorful, but great for you!) with brown rice and tofu or lean chicken.

Afternoon Snack Ideas:

  • Snap peas or carrot sticks with hummus dip.
  • Sliced yellow or orange bell peppers with trail mix.
  • Red grapes and a small container of low fat yogurt.

Dinner Ideas:

  • Chicken curry with veggies and brown rice. The seasoning in curry, called Turmeric, has been shown to be a powerful cancer fighter.
  • Bowl of Minestrone soup (with a teaspoon of flaxseed stirred in), grilled veggies and fish.
  • BBQ chicken or fish; add a marinade with chopped rosemary to help prevent carcinogens from forming while the meat cooks on the grill.  Add some colorful grilled veggies and a slice of whole wheat bread.

Special Note:

Prevention for your daughters and granddaughters-

  1. Avoiding fried foods, such as, French fries. While eating the potatoes themselves is not shown to be a risk, it’s the preparation. Frying in oil that is saturated or hydrogenated appears to be the culprit.
  2. Pregnant moms should eat foods high in omega 3s while pregnant. Mothers may be able to reduce the chances of their daughters developing breast cancer later in life by eating foods rich in omega 3 fats while pregnant and nursing.
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