Food & Wellnes Articles

Let’s Change the Cancer Stats with These 3 Dietary Strategies

According to the latest Canadian data, 1 in 2 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. Amanda Li, M.Ap.Nutr., RD, teaches strategies to stay healthy while relishing every bite.

Our bodies are incredible machines that have the capability to digest foods, to fight off disease, and to detoxify on its own. However, lifestyle factors including lack of sleep, poor nutrition, low activity, and exposure to environmental toxins can put a toil on the body’s ability to function optimally. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about 30% of all cancers are directly related to dietary habits, which can reach up to 70% in the case of cancers related to the digestive system. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada and affects more than 26,000 Canadians a year. This number is staggering, but we as individuals have the power to make changes to our lifestyle to reduce our risk of developing cancer in our lifetime.

Let’s not waste anymore time, and dive into 3 dietary recommendations to help reduce your risk starting today!

#1 – Eat a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits.

As the saying goes, “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor!” No one food contains all the anti-cancer molecules that can prevent cancer, so it is important to incorporate a wide range of nutrient-dense foods into our daily diet to increase the protective effect. Strive to create a rainbow effect on your dinner plate!

#2 – Limit your consumption of alcohol and sugar sweetened drinks.

There is strong evidence to suggest that excess alcohol consumption increases your risk of developing several types of cancer, including colorectal, mouth, liver, and breast cancers. Even red wine, a beverage containing thousands of phytochemicals including resveratrol should be enjoyed in moderation. For women this means 1 drink per day, and men should not exceed 2 drinks per day. As a reference, a drink is defined as 12 oz. beer, 1.5 oz. of spirits and 5 oz. of wine. Make water – still or bubbly – your drink of choice!

#3 – Eat fewer highly processed food products.

A good way to ensure for this is cooking at home more! No need to get complicated here; let the ingredients speak for themselves! To help you get started, I have included a recipe that exemplifies how easy it can be to start incorporating these 3 dietary habits!

Get the Recipe! Lentil Goji Berry Buckwheat Pilaf

The star ingredients in this pilaf are the buckwheat and goji berries! Buckwheat is a delicious underutilized whole-grain that can be prepared just like plain ol’ rice, but packed with more bioactive anti-cancer compounds including vitamin E, selenium, and lignans! The best part is that buckwheat has a wonderfully nutty and earthy flavour that pairs well with sweeter ingredients such as goji berries! Goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin C and A which help protect your body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. Make a large batch of this pilaf at the start of the week so you have a scrumptious grab and go meal for the busy workweek ahead! When you are prepared, you are setting yourself up for success!

Cancer is the number one cause of death in majority of industrialized countries, and affects not only the individual with cancer but has a tremendous ripple effect. We only have one body, and it is up to us to take charge of our health because no one else we do that for us! Stay healthy my friend, and until next time, relish every bite.

Amanda Li, M.Ap.Nutr., RD & Founder Wellness Simplified | | Amanda brings together her dietetic experience and working in a professional kitchen setting to create a nutrition coaching practice that is food-centric and grounded in teaching individuals a basic life skill – nourishing their body, mind and soul.

– – In case you missed it, also read 5 Habits That May Increase Your Risk For Pre-Diabetes by Amanda Li, in the A Season Unapologetic issue of Cooking Green Goodness Magazine. See Your Health & Wellness (page 6).

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