Cancer prevention can be overwhelming and frustrating, because sometimes it can seem like there is always something else that may cause cancer. Sure you make changes, exercising and avoiding risk factors where you can, but the hardest part may be managing your diet. Even if you think you’re doing a good job here, it’s still possible you may have room for improvement in one of these categories.
- Processed foods. If you’re eating a conventional diet you may be getting too much salt, sugar and/or fat, which are all known cancer promoters. Even the “healthy” crackers you see advertised as low fat or gluten-free may be pumped full of something else harmful to improve the taste. If you’re craving crackers or chips, check the nutrition label, or keep it simple with air-popped popcorn sprinkled with fresh herbs or nutritional yeast. Those go-to protein bars you may grab after the gym sometimes have enough calories to equal an entire meal and some have a similar nutrition content to that of a candy bar. Eat foods as close to the original form as possible, like nuts and fruit which also travel easily and may help reduce your risk.
- Dairy products. Animals fats can be inflammatory whether they come in the form of a glass of milk or a chunk of cheese, but when paired with excess sodium or sugar they become even more hazardous the the body. It can be hard giving up cheese, likely because we enjoy the instant gratification from the addictive-like high levels of saturated fat and salt, similar to the feeling we get from a sugar rush. It might help to taper down on how much cheese you consume until eventually you may even get used to making meals without it. A similar approach could be used with yogurt, some varieties have more sugar than cake so it can be helpful to check out the label! Oatmeal mixed with fresh blueberries can be a satiating super-food breakfast that may help knock out cancer cells instead of increase them.
- Meat. Saturated fats, excessive sodium, trace antibiotics and growth hormones are unnecessary components to what should be a healthful meal, but there are also other lurking cancer-promoting factors that the average eater may not be aware of. When meat is the centerpiece of your plate, your body may strain to accommodate these harmful invasive factors. Even “natural” chicken may be pumped full of unhealthy levels of sodium. You can learn more about dietary risk factors for cancers in How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger. His advice shows you the benefits a plate full of veggies and grains will offer, as opposed to the risks associated with a meat heavy diet.
Cancer doesn’t just pop up out of the blue, it takes a while to grow before it becomes significant enough to be noticed by either symptoms or preventative screenings. Start your own method of cancer prevention by making a new healthy recipe like this Tahini Spiralized Salad from One Green Planet for lunch. Whole natural foods have the nutritional power to strengthen your body, so it may be best to eat them up to reduce your cancer risk!