February is National Cancer Prevention Month and we’ve created a gallery of cancer-fighting recipes to help reduce your risk. With so many of us overweight these days, The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 20% of all cancers could be avoided if we made healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a more plant-based diet. Now, this doesn’t mean becoming vegetarian or vegan overnight and although no one single food or diet can completely reduce cancer risk, if a steady intake of burgers and fries and a sedentary lifestyle sounds like your M.O., you may want to do some rethinking and make changes. Here are some of the steps the ACS suggests taking to reduce cancer risk:
- Increase your servings of fresh fruits and veggies – 3 servings of veggies and 2 servings of fruit is recommended each day. Eat whole foods so that you get good fiber. Soups, stews, and smoothies are great ways to get extra veggies in. And fruits make naturally sweet desserts to satisfy a sweet tooth.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. Any alcohol intake has been shown to increase the risk of developing cancer. If you do decide to drink, we suggest drinking on celebrations only, and not every day.
- Reduce your intake of red meat, which includes pork, lamb, and goat as well as beef, and of all processed meats. And yes, this does include bacon, ham, and sausage. Make these occasional pleasures and not everyday eating.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This includes watching portion sizes when you eat and exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise includes everyday activities like walking – so park further away from the store, walk an extra block from the subway, do your housework with more gusto or walk while you talk on the phone. It all adds up.
From here on in, it’s all about learning how to make the most of all the amazing foods that are good for you and there is a lot to choose from. None of it makes dull eating – berries, stone fruits, walnuts, cruciferous vegetables, red and orange veggies including tomatoes, dark leafy greens, lean proteins like chicken or turkey, or omega-3 rich salmon. Giving you ideas to turn all this into delicious meals that you will truly enjoy is what we’re here for, so check out these recipes and get cooking!