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Healthy Food Choices

Aim to eat a diverse, largely plant-based diet, organically grown whenever available.

Food is best as fresh as possible, or flash frozen or home preserved. Food preservation, and long times in transit and on the shelf, can deplete nutrients. Local, seasonal foods tend to be fresher and more nutritious. 

Organic foods have not had pesticides applied, and do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Choose organic soy products, dried peas and beans, lentils, grains and corn to avoid the weedkiller glyphosate. It’s applied to GMO crops and may be used to “dry down” or dessicate grains along with killing weeds before harvest.

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. 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. Numerous studies demonstrate the benefits of vegetarian diets.

The Clean 15 – Safest Non-organic Fruits and VegetablesThe least pesticide contaminated foods according to the U.S. Environmental Working Group include: Avocados, Sweet corn, Pineapples, Onions, Papaya, Sweet peas, Eggplant, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kiwis, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Honeydew Melon and Cantaloupe.

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Good foods to give a try

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, store in airtight containers and save the summer harvest!

Include authentic 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.

Eat plenty of dark greens such as kale, rapini and spinach on a daily basis for fiber, folate, and a range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. 

Beans and lentils. 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. Here are some great ideas for quick, affordable,high protein recipes using red lentils.

Seaweeds such as nori, kombu, wakame, arame, hijiki and dulse, are noted for anti-carcinogenic properties in many cultures, and along with soy may contribute to low breast cancer rates in Japan. Choose products that are noted to be low in arsenic. Seaweeds contain molecules that may slow cancer growth, such as breast, prostate, skin and colon cancers.

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. It is best absorbed when used with pepper and in oil. 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. 

Eat beets for fiber, folate, nitrous oxide and a wide range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Here is a healthy appetizer and dessert and some other tips on eating beets.

Sweet potatoes, yams and orange squashes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and calcium, along with important flavonoids and add color to your meal. Include them in your diet with other veggies. According to research, compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer.

Try the horseradish challenge. It clears your sinuses and a teaspoon can help to prevent cancer as it aids detoxification of persistent carcinogenic molecules. It is easy to grow in your garden.

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.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.

Food preparation

How you prepare your food could be as important as the food itself.

Clean all fruits and vegetables  thoroughly before eating or food preparation. Use a vegetable brush, or soak for a few minutes in water with a few drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide in your basin to reduce microbes and parasites. Dilute unscented detergent or vegetable cleaning spray may reduce the microbial and pesticide contamination of non-organic raw foods. Be sure to rinse well – no one wants to eat detergent residues! 

Eating raw vegetables and fruit is one good choice. Light steaming will kill parasites and other potential pathogens (harmful bacteria and viruses), and break down tough cell walls making nutrients more available (e.g. carrots). Steaming rather than boiling vegetables helps to preserve water soluble nutrients.

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