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Eat Well, Be Well!

Physical well-being is influenced by what we eat, how we eat, and when and even where we eat.

We all have individual nutritional needs depending upon age and stage of life, activities, life history, sensitivities and allergies. There is no single, universal, ideal diet.

Author Michael Pollan put it well, encouraging people to eat food, not too much, mostly plants, with others. He does not count highly processed products, or anything that can arrive through the car window, as food.

All that passes our lips provides nutrients to build, fuel and sustain our physical wellbeing. Food and drink, their quality and preparation, and good digestion all play into optimal health.

These sections are under construction. Please take a peek, check back later, and email Info@PreventCancerNow.ca with comments – Thank You for your patience.

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Healthy Food Choices

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Dietary Cautions

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Good Digestion

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Nutritional Supplements & Herbs

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Hydration

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Recipes

  1. Eat your veggies. The richer a population’s diet is in vegetables and legumes (peas, beans and lentils) the lower the rate of cancer and many related chronic diseases. Eat these abundantly! The “creative cook” can add puréed veggies to sauces, cakes, cookies…just about anything! Try cauliflower or squash in cheese sauces, carrots or zucchini in cakes, spinach in spaghetti sauces, or extra veggies in soups.
  2. When choosing fruits and vegetables, generally fresh is better than frozen; and frozen is better than dried or canned. If you have the freezer space, quick-freeze on cookie sheets and save the summer harvest!
  3. Avoid genetically engineered (a.k.a. “modified”) organisms (GMOs) and their associated pesticides because they are increasingly suspected of causing cancers and other conditions such as kidney disease. 100% organic foods do not contain GMOs, but unless other foods are labelled you can only guess what is in them. GMOs (particularly corn and soy) are common in processed foods, and labelling initiatives are fought by corporate interests.
  4. Choose organic grains, soy and canola to avoid the weedkiller glyphosate. It’s applied to GMO crops, and used to “dry down” grains before harvest. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that the weedkiller glyphosate probably causes cancer. Canada does not require labelling of genetically “engineered” foods (so called, to distinguish from genetic modification via breeding), but they are common ingredients in processed products.
  5. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable fats (“trans fats”) as these processed oils have been linked specifically to cancer. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of trans fat.
  6. Avoid processed meats. The World Health Organization declared that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are as strong a cancer threat as cigarettes. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
  7. Opt for healthier condiments with less sugar and artificial ingredients, like salsa instead of ketchup. Learn to relish healthier substitutes like pesto and mustard! Also see Sharon Labchuk’s great recipe for naturally fermented salsa verde.
  8. Don’t eat foods that look even somewhat discolored, as they may be contaminated with moulds and their harmful mycotoxins. For example, aflatoxins are produced by black moulds that grow on foods such as seeds, including grains, legumes and nuts.
  9. Don’t eat charred foods as they contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and possibly acrylamide , depending on the food. PAHs are formed during grilling, searing and roasting. Even dark toast is better avoided.
  10. Get enough folic acid. Folate is an important B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of the nervous system, and helps to reduce the risk of cancers. You need folate every day, because it is not stored in the body. Many fruits, vegetables and nuts contain folate, and it is added to some flours. Top picks include dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, asparagus, sunflower seeds, and foods made with enriched flour.
  11. Prefer wild over farmed salmon as they contain higher levels of toxins that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer in humans.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  1. Eat plenty of dark greens such as romaine lettuce and spinach, for fiber, folate, and a range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Be sure to include them in your daily diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Eat purple potatoes. According to research, compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer.
  3. Beans and lentils are your friends. Researchers have found a significantly reduced frequency of breast cancer in women with a higher intake of dried beans or lentils. Women who ate these foods two (or more) times a week had a 24% lower risk. A phytochemical found in beans called diosgenin appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying. The popular Indian food, Dahl , is a great way to consume lentils, and a wonderful protein choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
  4. Red lentils are key to super healthy, economical, high protein fast foods. How do you use them? Here are some great ideas– your imagination is the limit!
  5. Eat mushrooms. Science shows a long history in cancer prevention. Oyster, cremini, shiitake, maitake, reishi, kawaratake, enokitake and other mushrooms contain selenium, lentinian and other phytonutrients such as polyphenols, which modulate the immune system to reduce cancer. Include mushrooms on a regular basis in your diet.
  6. Eat seaweeds such as nori, kombu, wakame, arame, and dulse. They contain molecules that may slow cancer growth, such as breast, prostate, skin and colon cancers.
  7. Use good quality turmeric liberally in your cooking. Curcumin is the principle molecule in turmeric responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effect. In the laboratory, curcumin has been shown to inhibit the growth of a large number of cancers including colon, prostate, lung, liver, stomach, breast, ovarian, brain and leukemia. Add black pepper to turmeric so that it will be better absorbed into the body.
  8. Eat beets for their fiber, folate and a wide range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Here is a healthy appetizer and dessert and some other tips on eating beets.
  9. Sweet potatoes, yams and orange squashes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and calcium, along with important flavonoids. They add color to your meal, and can be used in appetizers, soups, side-dishes and desserts. Include them in your diet with other veggies, along with a rich variety of fruits, beans and lentils, grains, nuts and seeds (go easy on the latter as they’re fattening!!).
  10. Eat foods that have a high sulphur content such as brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) and alliums (e.g. onions and garlic). These support higher levels of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is essential for excretion of toxic metals, and is an important antioxidant or redox regulator for pathways that promote death of early cancer cells.
  11. Soy good! Soy isoflavones block the stimulation of cancer cells by sex hormones. They also intervene by blocking or limiting the growth of tumors to an aggressive malignant stage. Fermented soy is recommended. Buy organic if possible, as most non-organic soy products are genetically modified, and therefor heavily sprayed with associated pesticides.
  12. Eat tofu. Made from soybeans, tofu is a great source of protein and can be added to many foods such as sauces, stir-fries, puddings, and shakes. Soy also contains phytoestrogen (a weak estrogenic chemical) that may decrease incidence of some cancers and other chronic diseases, particularly after menopause. Anyone sensitive to sulphites should check the label on the tofu package.
  13. Include foods from Mediterranean and Asian cuisine in your diet, as they use ingredients such as spices and herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, and can activate immune cell production. Avoid “westernized” recipes – stick with the traditional versions (and ingredients).
  14. Treat yourself to turnips. They are a cruciferous vegetable, containing cancer-fighting indoles and isothiocyanates and other health promoting phytochemicals. Turnips are also particularly high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates.
  15. Eat plenty of cabbage, including fermented cabbage. It is a cruciferous vegetable, a family that is often cited as an important for cancer fighting abilities as they contain indoles and isothiocyanates. Fermented vegetables contain important bacteria for intestinal health.
  16. Include arugula in a rich variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, and chew your food well! Arugula contains glucosinolates, which when chewed, are converted to isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates have well documented anti-cancer properties.
  17. Eat pumpkin, a member of the Curcubitae (squash/melon/cucumber) family, as it contains high levels of fiber and colourful carotenoids, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Pumpkin also contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which may reduce the risk of lung cancer. Include pumpkin in your diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. Here is a great recipe to get you started!
  18. Asparagus is great! Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewal, so be sure to include fiber rich vegetables such as asparagus in your regular diet to support the body’s detoxification process. Asparagus is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a compound that helps your body eliminate toxic metals and other harmful compounds.
  19. Don’t forget bananas. Most people don’t get enough potassium in their diet, mainly because they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. A diet rich in potassium is important and bananas rank among the best fruits for this element. The next time you shop, pick up some bananas. Here is a great Breakfast Smoothie recipe to get you started.
  20. Treat yourself to salad from nature, such as dandelion leaves (fresh or blanched), lambs quarters, purslane, wood sorrel (lemony!), pansy flowers and violets (flowers are sweet) – or use “wild” ingredients to dress up your regular salad. Check with books, local experts or online (e.g. here) to be sure of plant identification. Pick from cleaner environments – not close to a road or where pesticides were sprayed. Salad dressings with a bit of oil help you to absorb more of the vitamins in these very nutritious greens. Email us to share what your favourite wild food is!
  21. Herbs are your friends! Prevention is a word well known to herbalists. The practice of herbal medicine uses herbs to nourish and strengthen the body and increase vitality. Herbs play a role in cancer prevention in several ways. They can improve immune function and detoxification, and help the body and mind to cope with the everyday stresses of life, including cancer. Other herbs act as direct anti-cancer agents, inhibiting the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer development.
  22. Try the horseradish challenge. This eye-watering condiment not only clears your sinuses, just a teaspoon can help to prevent cancer as it aids detoxification of persistent carcinogenic molecules. In your garden, horseradish has large decorative leaves and very deep roots.
  23. Try sprouts! They are nutrition-packed, year-round fresh veggies you can even grow quickly on your counter. These diverse, digestible tidbits can be tucked in sandwiches, make super-salads, and larger seed sprouts are great lightly cooked.

FOOD PREPARATION TIPS

  1. It is best to cook veggies lightly by steaming or sautéing with a bit of high quality fat (e.g. coconut or olive oil, or organic butter). This retains more anti-oxidants and other anti-cancer nutrients in brassicas (e.g. broccoli) than over-boiling. Cooking tomatoes produces a better absorbed form of lycopene. A bit of fat improves absorption of fat-soluble phytonutrients such as lycopene from tomatoes or vitamin A from carrots. You can also enjoy steamed veggies with some fresh avocado to aid absorption.
  2. Moderate your salt intake. Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Research shows that higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due to salt-preserved foods (e.g. processed meats and pickled foods) and the saltshaker, and is worsened with H. pylori infection. Clearly excessive salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices are tasty substitutes for salt.
  3. ‘Smoke point’ matters! Do not overheat or repeatedly reheat cooking oils as it can create cancer-causing substances.
  4. Consider cooking or juicing hard or tough vegetables such as carrots or beets, to improve absorption of nutrients. Breaking down the plant cell walls makes the phytonutrients more accessible.
  5. Prepare your rice right! Inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, is hyperaccumulated by rice. Thus, rice plants exposed to arsenic in the soil, compost or water may have high levels in the grain. This is fairly common, but there is no way of knowing if your rice is affected. To reduce arsenic, pre-soak rice in ample water and/or cook it in excess water and drain before serving. Unfortunately, this also reduces B-vitamins.
  6. Citrus peels, particularly lemon, contain D-limonene. Limonene regulates enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, and also dissolves cholesterol in gallstones. Higher consumption is linked with lower incidence of skin, mammary, liver and lung cancers. When making lemonade be sure to use organic lemons so you can include the peel (they won’t have pesticides and wax)!
  7. Don’t char foods as it creates carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and possibly acrylamide , depending on the food. PAHs are formed during grilling, searing and roasting. Even dark toast is better avoided. Moist cooking is healthier.
  8. Ditch the non-stick cookware. When heated, the coating emits toxic chemicals into food and the air, especially at higher temperatures and when scratched. Try always to use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware.

STORAGE TIPS

  1. Use non-toxic cookware, made of glass, stainless steel and cast iron (not made with recycled metals). Avoid non-stick coated cookware. Even low levels of fluorinated coating materials can interfere with hormone actions, and promote cancer.
  2. Avoid plastic food storage containers, and never heat food or beverages in plastic containers. Always use glass in the microwave!
  3. Choose food preserved in glass rather than cans. The plastic linings of most cans may leach chemicals that interfere with hormone function. Acidic foods like tomatoes, and fatty foods, may leach more chemicals from linings.
  4. Avoid using hard plastic drink bottles, as they often contain bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical that may also cause cancer. Substitutes such as bisphenol-S (BPS) are no better, and estrogenic chemicals are common in plastics. Polypropylene and polyethylene are not estrogenic, although additives may be problematic . If you must use a plastic bottle, avoid ones with the recycling symbol #7 and go for the less risky types – #2, #4, and #5. Your best choice is to use glass or, for a less fragile option, use stainless steel bottles for water.

SNACKING

  1. Avoid microwave popcorn for several reasons, including the fact that the packaging sheds perfluorooctanoic acid, a potential carcinogen that lingers in the body. Denmark has come up with a much safer alternative – ask your favorite Canadian retailers to do the same! Until then, stick with a hot air popper.
  2. Avoid drinks containing artificial sweeteners, as some may be linked to cancers. As well, the body becomes hungry for the anticipated calories, resulting in food cravings, which can lead to poor food choices. Cellular signaling is also upset, leading to obesity and other related chronic diseases. Being obese is linked with higher risk of cancer.
  3. Opt for healthier condiments with less sugar and artificial ingredients, like salsa instead of ketchup. Learn to relish healthier substitutes like pesto and mustard! Also see Sharon Labchuk’s great recipe for naturally fermented salsa verde.
  4. Dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa) contains a number of antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, and polyphenols. These molecules slow the growth of cancer cells and limit the formation of blood vessels that feed tumor growth (angiogenesis). Twenty grams a day (one fifth of an average bar) is a recommended serving size.