Foods That Help Fight Cancer 1

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1 Foods That Help Fight Cancer 1 HealthWeek Eat your vegetables they re good for you! How many times did we hear that when we were growing up? Could it be that our mothers the same women who told us not to cross our eyes because they d stick that way were actually on to something? Well, at least about the vegetables part? Most definitely, yes, researchers say. And if your mom also pushed you to eat fruit, legumes (dried peas and beans), whole grains, nuts and seeds, she was a true cancer prevention visionary. Medical experts now say these plant-based foods contain chemicals that may help protect us from getting cancer. They believe the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants these foods contain may protect our cells from damage caused by cancer-causing substances. American Dietetic Association and director of nutrition therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. The most important thing as a means to preventing cancer is to eat a variety of healthy foods. I know that idea is old hat, but it s still true. Being well-nourished enhances our body s immune system and energy stores. It also keeps tissues from breaking down and helps to rebuild them. Different foods also provide the different nutrients our bodies need for good health, she says. And while it s important to incorporate proteins meat, fish, poultry, eggs and soybeans as a key component in our diet, there s strong evidence that a diet that s rich in a variety of plant-based foods can help protect us against cancer. Give Peas a Chance In fact, in a recent report by the American Institute For Cancer Research titled Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, researchers determined if the only positive change we make Quite simply, what we put in our mouths can give us an edge in protecting ourselves from developing cancer, says Cindy Moore, M.S., R.D., a spokesperson for the

2 is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, we may be able to lower our risk for cancer by 20 percent. In addition, if we eat those fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight, we may lower that risk by 40 percent. What does that mean when you sit down to dinner? asks Melanie Polk, M.M.Sc., R.D., and director of nutrition education for the American Institute For Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. If meat is the major focus, with vegetables and starch on the side, start transitioning toward making vegetables and starch the main attraction with a smaller serving of meat. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating less than three ounces of red meat each day. Benefits of Veggies Think a diet of the same old fruits and vegetables is boring? Consider this: Since different members of the plant family bring different vitamins, minerals, phyto-chemicals and antioxidants to the table, it s important to eat a variety of them. So, if you make it your habit to eat only green salads, nibble the occasional orange carrot and eat a pink grapefruit half with breakfast, expand that habit to include a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, experts say. Here s something else to consider. Another plus to diets rich in fruits and vegetables is that they help keep our weight down which also lowers our risk for cancer, says Andie Hsueh, Fc.D., professor of nutrition in the department of nutrition and food sciences at Texas Woman s University in Denton, Texas. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends we limit our adult weight gain to less than 11 pounds. Choosing fruits and vegetables instead of other types of foods that are high in calories helps reduce our caloric intake, says Hsueh. It s very difficult to overeat fruits and vegetables. The Trouble with Tobacco and Alcohol One plant it s important to stay away from entirely, experts agree, is tobacco. Tobacco is the chief cause of lung cancer and probably the single cause of cancers of the mouth, throat and digestive tract. And it may contribute to cancers of the pancreas, cervix and bladder, according to research by the American Institute for Cancer Pre-

3 vention. Researchers have mixed feelings about including alcohol in our diets. Although some say including a moderate amount of alcohol may help lower our risk of heart disease, others say drinking alcohol may increase our risk for certain types of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Prevention recommends limiting alcohol to two drinks per day for men and one per day for women. Beyond Vegetables Other Good Foods Researchers do agree that foods containing vitamin C, zinc and building blocks of protein help promote wound healing and cell rebuilding which plays a part in preventing cancer. Especially beneficial for good health are citrus fruits (which are high in vitamin C), tomatoes, kiwi, carrots, squash and both potatoes and yams with their skin. And foods rich in vitamin E plant oils, nuts and seeds are also good. Foods that contain whole grains like cereals and breads and brown rice are much more healthy and nutritious than their processed white counterparts. The American Institute recommends we eat at least seven servings of whole grains, legumes (dried peas and beans), roots (turnips and beets), tubers (potatoes and yams) and plantains (bananas) each day. Some recent studies have questioned just how much a high-fiber diet actually lowers your risk for cancer. It doesn t matter either way eat the fiber anyway, says Moore. Dietary fiber allows foods to move more quickly and efficiently through the body. It s also very important to eat a diet that s low in fat, says Moore. Fat can stimulate cancer growth and act as a cancer promoter. Ideally, the amount of calories in your diet that come from fat should only be 15 to 20 percent that s significantly less than the American Heart Association s recommendation of 30 percent for heart patients. It probably goes without saying that a diet of healthy foods can be severely compromised if those foods aren t handled or stored in a safe manner. Following food safety is very important so as not to tax our immune systems with food-borne illnesses, says Moore. So make sure to wash

4 your hands before and after handling foods, wash foods before eating or cooking, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot, and keep foods that need to be cooked separate from food that can be eaten raw. Food Fads There s been a lot of buzz in the news about this food and that how sushi protects against lung cancer and soy products help prevent breast cancer. Everything in moderation, says Hsueh. Fatty fish from cold water (like tuna, salmon, mackerel and swordfish) should be included in our diet because they contain Omega-3 fatty acids which we believe boost our immune response. And, yes, there are negative associations with soy products and the outcome of breast cancer among women in Japan where there s a high intake of soy in their diet. be-all, end-all miracle eat-this-and-you ll never get cancer food at least not this week. Yes, fish containing Omega-3 fatty acids is good, and soy looks promising. But all this still needs to be studied. There s never a slam dunk, says Andrew Dannenberg, M.D., director of Cancer Prevention at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Campus, in New York City, N.Y. But it s a very, very empowering idea. Dannenberg s lab had a major role in the discovery of the COX-2 enzyme as a link to colon cancer. Researchers now believe that by inhibiting or turning off the production of that enzyme it may interrupt the cycle that turns healthy cells into cancerous cells. Currently, Dannenberg is working to identify compounds naturally found in fruits, vegetables and herbs that act as COX-2 inhibitors. To date, they ve identified the following: resveratrol, which is found in grapes and wine; curcumin in the tumeric root (it s what gives curry its yel- But it s important to eat a variety of things we believe to be healthy rather than of a lot of one food that might be good for us, because some foods may contain good things we don t even know about, she says. Contrary to what supermarket tabloids would have us believe, there is no single

5 low color); CAPE in honeybee products and carnosol which is found in the herb rosemary. I believe food is medicine, he says. We eat grams and grams of food each day. It can be to our benefit or to our detriment. There s a lot we don t know yet. But should we eat a diet of potato chips and chocolate? No. We can take personal steps to try to eat foods today that, based on what we currently know, are good for us. Seven Simple Tips to Help Lower Your Risk for Cancer The American Institute for Cancer Research offers the following guidelines and ammunition in our on-going battle to prevent cancer: Choose a diet that s rich in a variety of plant-based foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. Drink alcohol in moderation if at all. They recommend a maximum of two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one for women. Eat foods low in fat and salt. Prepare and store food safely. Do not use tobacco in any form. For more information about diet, nutrition and cancer prevention, log on to the Web site of the American Institute for Cancer Research at

6 Nutrition Questions 1 name Use the space provided to write answers to each of the questions. Make certain your answers are in complete sentences. 1. A mom who told her child to eat these foods is a true cancer prevention visionary. What are the foods? 2. What do medical experts say these foods contain that may help protect us from getting cancer? 3. Who is Cindy Moore? 4. What does Cindy Moore say is the most important thing to do as a means to preventing cancer? 5. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research how can we reduce our risk of getting cancer by forty percent? 6. What kind of cancers does Tobacco cause?

7 Nutrition Wordsearch 1 name D C I X F U H E E S A F I I V I M T M T L C E R T N R H H G B S T H N F D R A T M L M S U I F I T E U B C G S E S T E I E E A C C T E E N I I I O C C S E G U O F U M T C M I E B M N S T U R E M B D L E E M S E D I R E I C S F I N L E N G A T O B A C C O T S Y D F T B O H C I I D N X H H B H H T R T I S E L E H N A V E E L S A E E U E L E U F H I E U O D S E I A F R V U T N E T L M B E S O L D E L T X B E X E T W R R R E E S S G N S V O E H C E E L E V E N I U E T F B N E T E B T U E E A R F C M F E D T T M N O S E R A S L B M S I Y M A E R C I T R U S D V B N O N T D A N N E N B E R G E F I I I B R A I I G N F F S O T O Y O E O E O M T T S U R E C E H H T F A A I E R V R E U F I E D T L T D L H I T R R R R F R S G T E W E A E O T N H R U U R S S B R Y E C O M E D I C I N E T S T M N M R E A E S E T U F R U I T S N E T V R A I R D O F T E M R M E A I S B O O S T B R E A S T A E G A Y U H E E O H E D G U R I N F E M O M A R M M I F H L R H S B A N A N A S T O C S S T T U S N U T S L E T E A N S A E H E M N E I I F B I I T H A R T E S O I B I I C M E T U S E I V D T Use the clues below to discover words in the above puzzle. Circle the words. 1. Dannenberg 2. Hsueh 3. Moore 4. bananas 5. boost 6. breast 7. chemicals 8. citrus 9. eleven 10. fat 11. fiber 12. fruits 13. legumes 14. medicine 15. mixed 16. nuts 17. three 18. tobacco 19. variety 20. weight

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