You’ve probably heard from the health experts that eating fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains may reduce your risk of developing cancer. And maybe you’ve been eating your weight in garlic, tomatoes or whatever foods crop up in the news as especially potent cancer fighters.
But if you think one food will give you immunity from cancer, think again. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single magic food that will protect you against cancer.
Instead, say nutrition experts, you’re better off including a wide range of foods in your diet rather than focusing on a “magic bullet” food. To protect yourself against cancer, redesign your meals so that a greater proportion comes from plant sources and less from meat, they say.
What should you be eating if you’re concerned about cancer prevention?
Some studies being done on the protective effects of fruits and vegetables direct their subjects to eat nine servings of vegetables and three of fruit every day. But the general recommendation is easier to follow: Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Some guidelines go up to 11, depending on your situation.
But don’t despair if your idea of a vegetable is a ketchup-covered fry. You can change your diet by taking small steps in shopping and cooking:
- Pick up a new fruit or vegetable when you’re in the grocery store.
- Instead of a coffee break, try green tea and a handful of grapes. Try hummus as an afternoon snack to get beans into your diet.
- For meals, shrink the protein. Choose fish, lean meat and skinless chicken and keep the portion to a third of your plate. Fill the rest of the space with whole grains, vegetables and beans.
Comprehensive Cancer Care Close to Home
Mercy Cancer Center is 1 of only 32 facilities nationwide to earn the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in 2017. More importantly, we’re 1 of only 16 facilities nationwide to earn it four or more times in a row. To learn more about Mercy Cancer Center, visit cantonmercy.org/cancer/.
GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 Japanese eggplants
- 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia
- 1 medium summer squash
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped, pitted black olives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, optional
Slice the eggplants 1/2 inch thick. Slice the onion 1/2 inch thick. Quarter the squash lengthwise. Cut the bell pepper into 1/2 inch pieces lengthwise. Brush the eggplant, onion, bell pepper and squash lightly with oil. Place in a vegetable basket and cook on a hot grill. Remove the onion, bell pepper and squash after 10 minutes or when browned and tender; remove the eggplant after 12 minutes or when browned and tender. Coarsely chop the grilled vegetables.
Place in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, basil, Italian parsley, oregano, thyme, 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, spoon over rice, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste.
Nutritional information: Per serving (with rice and seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon salt): 260 calories/ 10 grams total fat/ 6.7 grams protein/ 33 grams carbohydrates/ 4 milligrams cholesterol/ 450 milligrams sodium/ 4.5 grams dietary fiber