3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart
Cancer Prevention Through Nutrition: 4 Meal Upgrades to ConsiderNutrition, Health
Optimizing Your Plate
I try to be proactive in most areas of my life, and encourage my clients to do the same - particularly when it comes to disease and cancer prevention. Luckily, what we eat (and don’t eat) plays a large role in how our body responds to invaders or mutations.
Here are 4 meal upgrades to add to your routine as you look to be proactive in disease and cancer prevention:
1. Choose organic
First and foremost, go organic when you can!
- Check out your local farmers markets for produce that is in season
- Choose organic, antibiotic-free meats
- Look for organic eggs
If you can’t afford to purchase all organic groceries, at least choose the dirty dozen. This includes: apples, spinach and kale, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.When it comes to purchasing meat and dairy, it is important to look for products that also have labels like: “free-range”, “pasture-raised”, “grass-fed” and “antibiotic-free”. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to get to know a local farmer, or try ethical and meat subscription boxes who do that work for you!
2. Eat the rainbow
You have heard that antioxidants are an important part of cancer prevention, and it’s one of the easiest upgrades you can do to each meal! Think about adding colour to your plate by choosing a lot of organic produce! And what you choose can change depending on the time of the year, for example:
Spring/Summer: grab lots of berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, beans, asparagus
Fall/Winter: more leafy greens, apples, squash, sweet potatoes, gourds
3. Avoid fast & processed foods
This includes packaged meals, chips, processed meats and cheeses, cereals, plain white bread, etc. Many of these processed foods are high in inflammatory ingredients like sugar, canola oil, and most of the things you can’t pronounce on the food label. You may wonder, “what’s the best way to avoid fast foods?” Well, it’s pretty simple: look back to points 1 and 2!
4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods
We have seen how chronic inflammation, caused by everything from a poor diet, lifestyle factors and stress can impact our overall immune system. When our immune system isn’t functioning properly, we can see illness and disease pop up more often.
Foods that help to fight inflammation include:
- Omega-3 rich wild-caught, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines
- Foods high in antioxidants! That means lots of colourful vegetables and some fruit.
- Organic olive oil. Just be sure to use this as a salad dressing, or to top off a meal. Do not use it to cook with as it cannot withstand the high temperatures.
- Most nuts and seeds. Avoid moldy nuts like peanuts and cashews.
- Dark chocolate! Be sure to choose at least 70%, or make your own hot cocoa with pure cacao powder and your favourite non-dairy milk.
Remember food is just the start! It is important to add in other lifestyle changes to help in disease and cancer prevention. This can include:
- Changing your household cleaning products
- Purchasing an air cleaning filter (particularly if you live near a busy street)
- Swapping beauty products and personal care products for organic and all-natural alternatives
- Reducing stress!
- Getting ample, quality sleep
- Adding exercise to your routine - even just a daily, 30 minute walk is good
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!