Flashy fruits & vegetables: To strike out cancer!

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If you are concerned about lowering the risk of cancer, take comfort in the fact that “Some simple lifestyle changes can make big difference.” Yes, the primary prevention of cancer is through better lifestyles like  healthy eating, regular physical activity, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, UV-exposure reduction and screen to precancerous lesions.

Maintain a healthy weight

A BMI of 25 or less is optimal. Waist size should also be considered, for higher the amount of body fat deposited in and around the waist signifies higher risk of cancer. Having too much belly fat is linked with an increased risk of colorectal, prostate pancreas, edometrium( linging of the uterus) and breast cancer ( in women past menopause). Higher intake of dietary fat & alcohol and low level of exercise is the leading cause of colorectal and prostate cancer in men. Men tend to accumulate more fats than women!! It is obvious that all men should lose the belly fat to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  In women, though estrogen levels dip during the menopause, far more women experiences the symptoms of estrogen dominance-the increase in hunger and  the decrease in metabolism,  that leads to fat gain around the waist! Gaining weight after menopause will increase the risk of breast cancer in women. So, after 40 years, women should focus on small-frequent -healthy meals with regular physical activity to maintain their weight. 

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If you are overweight or obese, no worries…………. Just work to lose the weight! Excess body fat can be reduced by lowering the number of calories you consume (lowering the portion size), choosing a low-fat diet, and increasing the physical activity!

Regular physical activity will help reduce your risk of cancer and recurrence through several powerful and synergistic mechanism. Strive for at least 30 mins of moderate aerobic exercise. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise will have a wonderful effect on glycemic control in individual with type 2 diabetes. Enjoy performing some light stretching exercises often.

EXERCISE IS LIKE A SEAT BELT THAT CAN REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK”

Eat healthy food

Healthy selections at the grocery stores and at mealtime will help reduce your cancer risk.

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  • Fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses are generally low in calories and fat. They are considered the good food choices that help you control your weight and reduce your cancer risk. They are also rich in vitamins & minerals that strengthen the immune system. Dark colored beans, vegetables & fruits are high in antioxidants which prevent the cell damage that leads to cancer. The fibers, linked to reduce the cancer risk! Scientists at Cancer Prevention Institute of California have found that a diet high in fruits & vegetables may significantly reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Eating lots of vegetables, especially cooked tomato-based foods, rich in lycopene, can lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. Watermelon, grapefruit, red & pink guava are also good sources of lycopene. Aviary Photo_130279416386388766
  • Berries are high in antioxidant properties. Blueberries rank number one in terms of their antioxidant power. Antioxidants neutralizes the free radicals, an unstable compounds that damage the cells and lead to diseases including cancer.  Aviary Photo_130298342051170378Grab the blue berries!  
  • Eating a diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Dietary fibers protect against breast cancer through inhibition of the intestinal reabsorption of estrogen.
    • Soluble fiber has been shown to be more effective in controlling the blood glucose, insulin, which have been positively related to the risk of breast cancer.
    • Insoluble fiber are more effective in binding and excreting estrogen. 

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  • Nut eaters are less likely to die of cancer! The unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients from heart-healthy peanuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios are not only cardio protective, also anti-carcinogenic, and with antioxidant properties, that aid in lowering the cholesterol, inflammation and reducing the risk of cancer. Nuts are goods sources of selenium, that helps destroy cancer cells and aid cells repair their DNA. Enjoy a handful of nuts with fresh green salads rich in fibers, vitamins & minerals and antioxidants.

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  • Choose wholegrain, for refined foods are high in GI, the glycemic index. Research has shown that women even with BMI < 25, had an increased risk of breast cancer with an increasing amount of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates!!!
  • Limit eating processed meat like – smoked, cured, salted, added preservatives, for the diet high in processed meat is linked to bowel cancer!
  • Controlling the intake of foods high in calories, fats and sugar will help reduce the risk of bowel and breast cancers!
  • Culinary herbs like garlic, mint, basil, oregano, cilantro (coriander leaves), chives, parsley not only add flavor and color to meals, they also help to prevent and manage heart disease, cancer and diabetes!Aviary Photo_130298358633601086IMG_7098
  • Choose baking, boiling, steaming or stir frying as healthy cooking options, for they limit the use of fat and reduce the risk of being overweight! Broccoli is a good source of cancer-protective flavonoids. Micorwaving destroys 90% of its flavonoids. So, it is wise to steam it, or stir fry this vegetable to hold the cancer preventing flavonoids.

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Go moderate on alcohol.

Alcohol is a known cause of mouth, throat, liver, colon and rectum cancers. People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than a drink per day.

Protect yourself from the sun

Many skin cancers are caused by excess exposure to UV rays from the sun or other sources. Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun rays are strongest. Avoid tanning beds, for these are just as damaging as UV rays.

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Don’t use tobacco

Cigarette smoking accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths. It has been linked to various types of cancer, including the cancer of lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

Good, if you don’t smoke. But exposure to second hand and sidestream smoke might increase the risk of lung cancer! So, provide a safe, enjoyable and accessible environments for yourself and your family.

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You have the power, to reduce your cancer risk, by having a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.Aviary Photo_130298303425323766

References

  • Yikyung Park, Louise A Brinton, Amy F Subar, Albert Hollenbeck, and Arthur Schatzkin. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr September 2009 vol. 90 no. 3 664-671
  • Wanqing Wen, Xiao Ou Shu, Honglan Li, Gong Yang, Bu-Tian Ji, Hui Cai, Yu-Tang Gao, and Wei Zheng. Dietary carbohydrates, fiber, and breast cancer risk in Chinese women. Am J Clin Nutr January 2009 vol. 89no. 1 283-289
  • Martin Lajous, Marie-Christine Bourton-Ruault, Alban Fabre, Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, and Isabelle Romieu. Carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women. Am J Clin Nutr May 2008 vol. 87 no. 5 1384-1391
  • Ernest H Rosenbaum, M.D. David Spiegel, M.D. Patricia Fobair, L.C.S.W., M.P.H. Hollyl Gautier, R.N. With Louise Maffitt, B.F.A. Everynone’s Guide to Cancer Survivorship; A Road Map for Bette Health. 2007
  • www.cancer.ie
  • http://www.aicr.org
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When a craving strikes……

Your stomach is growling, but lunch is hours away. You might just grit your teeth, thinking that waiting for lunch is the best. Why sitting and waiting when you can always indulge in a snack!

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Having snacks in the right ratio of nutrients and calories will help keep your body energized.  Healthy snacks are like slow-burners that help you keep going all through the day.

2-3 snacks a day may just banish the post-meal sleepiness that usually results with engulfing more calories at one sitting.

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Fuel up ‘tween meals!  Sounds Great!  But what about those mindless nibbles on a bag of cookies, chocolates at your table. Munching them to sabotage a well-planned healthy diet, later?

Tempted to grab those shiny & mini – doughnuts, the slices of cakes, cup cakes with a crown of whipped cream  at the office cafeteria?  Who will say  “No” to these finger foods?  I am sure, everyone would like to enjoy, munching these energy-zapping sugary foods.  A nutrient-poor, sugar-laden snacks will give you a quick jolt of energy which is immediately followed by a crash that can leave you hungry, cranky, sleepy, and struggle to concentrate!

While mindless snacking pads your waistline, a thoughtful snacking like munching on nuts, olives, cheese, fruits & vegetables may do just the opposite. Smart choices of healthy snacks, will help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  So, no worries…….

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I am more delightful in presenting you the following healthy snack-foods. Hope you will enjoy!

Nuts are good, high protein choices. A handful of nuts is an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They are high in protein, fiber, and heart healthy fats. For example, a small handful of walnuts a day, helps reduce your cholesterol and inflammation in the arteries. It is a package of omega3s, mono unsaturated fats and fiber.

Peanuts, too… are heart healthy because they are good source of mono unsaturated fats.

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20 g of plain, dry roasted peanuts will give you 113 g calories, 5.6 g protein, 1.7 g fiber, 1.66 g Vitamin E, 1.36 g saturated fat, 4.8 g mono unsaturated fat,  3.11 g poly unsaturated fat. 

To reap the real benefits of nuts, replace walnuts/almonds/pistachios for bad fats like those in cookies, fries or chips. Toast almonds to enhance the creamy  flavor. Be careful with quantity. A handful of nuts has nearly 110-120 calories! Choose something in a shell, so you have to work harder that slows down munching. Slower eating style, leaves you feel full and satisfied!!

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Edemame, the green fresh soybeans, a tasty appetizer!  It is both highly nutritious and a delicious treat!

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100 g of edemame are packed with 12.95 g of protein and almost 4.2 g of fiber that is equal to two slices of whole meal bread!  A perfect snack all by itself!

Protein rich snacks will help keep your metabolism in high gear.”

An orange contains cholesterol fighting fiber, pectin and potassium that helps control blood pressure. Study has shown that orange improve blood vessel functions and modestly lower the blood pressure through an anti-oxidant called hesperidin. A medium/tennis ball size, orange, is roughly around 62 calories, and with 3 g of fiber. Sounds good for heart!

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Banana, a naturally prepacked goodness, loaded with cramp preventing potassium! 100 g/7-8″ banana is packed with 89 calories, 2.6 g fiber, 358 mg potassium!

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Low-Fat dairy is often touted for bone health, for it is an easy source of calcium and potassium. Skimmed milk provides plenty of protein and calcium. Cold skim-milk keep you full for longer. Yogurt rich in pro-biotics helps fight the harmful bacteria in the intestine. People who are intolerance to lactose can very well tolerate yogurt, for they are low in lactose! Yogurt sounds great for a salad dressing, too!

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The protein in cheese snack will battle the mid-morning hunger pangs.  Smoothies, a bone building goodie!

You get:

  • 69 calories, 4.2 g protein, 3.8 g Saturated fat, and 100 mg Calcium from   25 g of White cheese with thyme and red pepper.
  • 115 calories, 8.8 g protein, 2 g Saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium, 363 mg Calcium from 250 ml/1 glass of Low fat milk 

Raw Vegetables make an outstanding snack. They are crunchy, low in calorie, with 70-80%  water to help you feel full. Half a cup of diced celery has only 9 calories!  When you are in the mood for chips and dips you can still stay on track!! Just try to replace them with raw vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and baby corns.

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Carrots, the sweet crunchy veggies help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Since carrots are root vegetables that smell & taste sweet, people often stay away from them.  But do you know, carrots are among the lowest-carb root vegetables and they are lower in carbohydrate  than many other low-carb fruits like strawberries?

Yes, a 5-1/2 “(50 g) carrot gives you only 20 calories. Thanks to ample amount of soluble fiber 1.4 g/ 50g, the kind found in oats, that helps control cholesterol!

Soups, the broth-based, not creamy- is dieters’ friend. It is full of water that fills you up with fewer calories. It gently takes up the space that might have gone to higher calorie foods. Great filling!

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Air-popped popcorn is another excellent snack. The air adds volume without the addition of fat or sugar. It is visually satisfying, and also it takes time to eat. Pop corn is high in GI!. So, stick on to the portion size.

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Popcorn, air popped, microwave 1 oz/28.35 g per serving will give you 110 calories, 3.67 g protein, 4.1 g fiber, 93 mg potassium, 0.18 g saturated fat, 0.26 g Monounsaturated fat, and 0.65 g Polyunsaturated fat! 

Snacking is very beneficial towards getting all the essential nutrients our body needs in a day. It is the “variety” that makes the snack more appealing! The wider the range of foods we eat, the more nutrients we get. Regular physical activity to keep a healthy decent weight is also an important part of the lifestyle.

References:

  • Megan A McCrory, and Wayne W Campbell, “ Effects of Eating Frequency, Snacking, and Breakfast Skipping on Energy Regulation: Symposium Overview,” J Nutr. 2011;141:144-147
  • Christine M McDonald, Ana Baylin, Joanne E Arsenault, Mercedes Mora-Plazas, and Eduardo Villamor, “ Overweight is More prevalent Than Stunting and is Associated with Socioeconomic Status, Maternal Obesity, and a Snacking Dietary Pattern in School Children from Bogata, Colombia,” J Nutr. 2009; 139:370-376
  • http://ndb.nal.usda.gov
  • The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan: A Guide to Understanding the Emerging By Sandra Woodruff, Christopher D. Saudek, 2004
  • Knack Healthy Snacks for Kids: Recipes for Nutritious Bites at Home Or On the Go By Amy Wilensky, Peter Ardito, Susan Byrne
  • Diabetes Snacks, Treats and Easy Eats for Kids: By Barbara Grunes, Linda R. Yoakam R D, M S