Prevention & Recovery

How to create a diet rich in cancer-fighting foods

How to create a diet rich in cancer-fighting foods

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

How to create a diet rich in cancer-fighting foods

When we hear about eating to prevent disease or to boost our immune system, we often think of bland diet foods, skimping on desserts and never indulging in the foods that we love. "It's the opposite," says Richard Béliveau, author of Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer, (McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 2007), "People who have the best health and lowest rates of cancer are people who have an outstanding quality of food. North America focuses on adding flavour with salt, sugar and fat, and the rest of the world is flavouring with onions, herbs and spices."

In their Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer, Béliveau and co-author Denis Gingras show that it is possible to achieve a balance to optimize both pleasure and health while partaking in one of the world's favourite pastimes – eating!

Focused on preventing cancer through improving health and lifestyle, Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer reveals how studies have shown that certain foods contain properties to make the human body inhospitable to cancer growths. "Specific molecules in specific foods were presenting similar therapeutic potentials as certain drugs," Béliveau says. "Compounds found in green tea or red wine or cabbage were really killing cancer cells."

Just a few key changes need to be made to daily eating routines to create a diet rich in foods that fight cancer. Here are 3 simple steps to get you started.

1. Get your 7 to 10 a day
Your grandma told you, your mom told you and now Béliveau is telling you again: eat your fruits and veggies! "Seventy eight per cent of North Americans do not eat the daily recommended portion of fruits and vegetables," Béliveau says. "For hypertension and diabetes we have to worry about what we overeat, like sugar and salt, but for cancer we have to think about what we don't eat – fruit and vegetables."

Be choosy:
Though good for you, not all fruit and veggies contain cancer-fighting chemicals. In his book, Béliveau refers the most beneficial ones, specifically cruciferous vegetables (such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale), and garlic. Foods like these contain phytochemical compounds that encourage the removal of carcinogenic compounds from the body.

Best choices: Other foods containing properties that inhibit cancer growth are berries, oranges, seaweed, turmeric, mushrooms, soy, green tea and dark chocolate. See page 2 for Béliveau's complete list of top-performing foods.

Junk is still junk:
French fries and potato chips do not count as vegetables. Visit your local farmer's market on the weekend or neighbourhood grocers during the week; they will have this season's freshest and tastiest fruits and veggies.

Page 1 of 2 – on page 2: more simple steps for healthy eating!
2. Rediscover the pleasure of eating
The taste of tender pork marinated in lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and hot chilli flakes; the savoury smell of turmeric, cumin and parsley mixed with fall's finest root vegetables; or, the first taste of the summer's sweetest raspberries, drizzled with maple syrup. Doesn't this sound irresistible?

Or, are you thinking about how these are impossible and time-consuming meals to prepare?

Slow down: "Eating used to be about family, social intimacy and friends," Béliveau says. Allotting ourselves 20 minutes to eat a store bought boxed dinner, or sometimes skipping meals all together contributes to poor health.

Discover family time: Get Dad in charge of making everyone's lunch, get the kids to take care of dinner once a week if they're old enough and if they're still young, give them a manageable task in the kitchen. Making meals doesn't have to be a grueling task, pump up the music, bond with your family and hone those culinary skills. Make it fun.

"When it's not complicated and you find it delicious, you will discover the pleasure in discovering a new style of cooking," Béliveau says. "And, when you have pleasure you'll do it more often."
3. Down with daily indulgences
The problem with the typical North American diet isn't the holidays, vacations or little treats we allow ourselves, it's the chronic condition in the daily. "It's the pop you drink every day, the French fries you eat three times a week," says Béliveau. "There's no problem eating French fries once every two weeks, the problem is that we eat too much of it day to day. When you're hungry in the afternoon you should have dark, 70 per cent chocolate or a cup of green tea."

• Stash some healthy snacks in your desk drawer so when the 3 o'clock munchies come around you won't find yourself walking to the vending machine.

• Try making treats a reward for eating your seven to 10 servings for fruits and vegetables daily for an entire week.

• When you're out, Béliveau suggests heading to the closest Greek or Japanese restaurant and order the dish that contains the most vegetables.

Page 2 of 3 – on page 3: find out what foods to stock up on!

Top-performing cancer-fighting foods Béliveau suggests for optimum health:
• Seaweed: Low it fat and high in omega-3 and omega-6. Next time you go out with the gals for sushi, order a seaweed salad for a starter. Or, head to your local grocery store and check out the prepared foods.

Recipe to try: Kelp with Szechuan Peppercorns

Mushrooms: Used in traditional medicine in places like Asia, Russia and Africa. From button to shitake and oyster to maitake, there are oodles of types of mushrooms to experiment with. Head to China town to find them fresh or check out the aisles at your grocery store for the dried versions.

Recipe to try: Sauteed Mushrooms

Herbs and spices: There is no better way to flavour your food than with herbs and spices. Add turmeric to your soups when sautéing the onions and garlic in oil, add fresh basil to your next tomato sauce and add some fresh grated ginger to tomorrow night's stir fry.

Recipe to try: Quick Chicken Paella

Chocolate: Mmmmmm. Chocolate … But, make sure it's the dark kind with 70 per cent cocoa and do try to eat it in moderation, as it's high in calories. That said, it's full of health-promoting properties. When you're looking for that sweet something after dinner, pop a piece in your mouth.

Recipe to try: Dark Chocolate Truffles for Two

Red wine: Good for both the cardiovascular system and cancer prevention. Once again, consume in moderation. Have a glass a day with your hearty, vegetable-filled meals.

Recipe to try: Pan Seared Steaks with Red Wine Sauce
Page 3 of 3


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Prevention & Recovery

How to create a diet rich in cancer-fighting foods