We know that a healthy diet and lifestyle is advantageous for health. Did you know it can help to reduce the risk for cancer? According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), up to 34% of cancers can be prevented with a healthy diet to maintain an optimum weight, and through regular exercise. This is good news because these are changes you can make today, to improve your long-term quality of life.
Take Action to Cut Your Risk
The AICR states that the health range for the body mass index (BMI) falls within the range of 21-23, but it does depend on the person. For athletes, BMI may not be a good gauge of body fat, but for most people the BMI works just fine. To help maintain a healthy BMI, focus on food, especially nutrient dense, lower calories options. Let fruits and vegetables remain the focal point of the meals that you eat, as opposed to meat and starches. Try a simple salad, like the Strawberry and Kiwi Mixed Green Salad. Maybe something a bit heartier? How about this scrumptious vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili. Both provide large volume with lower calories, helping to keep you full without packing on the pounds. More to be found here!
The AICR recommends at least 5 servings of plant-based foods each day. Non-starchy fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and nutrients, and low in calories, making them a good choice. Examples include melons, berries, citrus, spinach, broccoli, green beans and eggplant. For a delicious yet simple way to enjoy eggplant, try Easy Eggplant Parmesan from Holly Clegg’s KITCHEN 101 cookbook. And for those who eat food out of the home often, be mindful of ingredients, and ask to tailor the dish to your healthy preferences. Many times, this can be accommodated.
For those consuming ample amounts of whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, you are on your way! However, this is not automatic permission to liberalize the diet to include more sugary, calorically dense foods. To reduce cancer risk, limit the foods lining the shelves of the grocery stores, in their gleaming, shiny, exciting packages. This is imperative for success. These foods should only be included sparingly as they promote weight gain with little added nutritional benefit. For help recognizing these types of foods, read the nutrition facts label as well as the ingredient list. Most individuals should not exceed 50 grams of added sugars per day and no more than 20 grams of saturated fats per day. And keep an eye out for the ingredient list! It’s best to be able to identify what the ingredient is; the name should not sound like a chemical.
Move Your Body Frequently
Daily exercise is another way to reduce your chances for a cancer diagnosis, or recurrence. Physical activity helps reduce weight gain and obesity, thereby helping to reduce the risk for certain cancers along with other diseases. The AICR recommends beginning with moderate physical activity (brisk walking) at least 30 minutes per day, and after a couple weeks of consistency, bumping it up to 60 minutes per day. Make it simpler. Just move as much as you can, and avoid inactivity as best as you can. Wearing activity trackers, such as the FitBit, can help to keep you accountable, and understanding your level of exertion by journaling the progress is a best practice.
Prevention is key when it comes to many diseases, especially cancer. And though there is no 100% guaranteed elimination, taking important actions can greatly reduce your chances for recurrence or diagnosis.
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch slices (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 onions, thinly sliced into rings
- 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 1/2 Cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven 350°F. Coat oblong 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Arrange eggplant slices along bottom of dish. Top with onions.
- In large bowl, mix marinara sauce, oregano and basil. Spread evenly over onion slices.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return to oven 10 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.
- Terrific Tip: Use different flavored marinara sauces.