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Dr Russ Blog - Fight Cancer with Food?
Fight Cancer with Food?
Created on 4/6/2012

D sent in a question that many people have on their minds - what foods can fight cancer, and what foods should people who have had cancer avoid to help prevent recurrence?

Great question, D - thank you for asking.

Findings from research studies clearly show that healthy dietary and lifestyle practices are the best insurance against chronic illness, including cancer and cancer recurrence.

We'll focus primarily on diet in this blog piece, but regular exercise is at least as important, if not more so, when it comes to cancer prevention. Please - find a way to "get moving" that you enjoy - it can help keep you healthy in many ways.

As far as diet goes, you've likely heard that the Mediterranean diet is very good for you; similarly, data suggest a traditional Asian-style diet is healthy. Some combination of the two represents perhaps the best way to eat for good taste and good health.

Why? Because both dietary patterns include foods that reduce inflammation, provide cancer-fighting nutrients, and allow for some healthful treats. They also exclude some of the unhealthy food options out there that may contribute toward the development of cancer.

The types of foods that should regularly be in your shopping cart and on your plate include:

- a variety of brightly colored vegetables but especially cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower to access compounds that may help fight cancer, including indoles and isothiocyanates
- fruit, but especially dark berries for their anthocyanins
- whole grains and other slow-digesting carbohydrates
- healthy protein sources, including plant-based protein such as beans
- healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat from extra virgin olive or organic cold-expeller-pressed canola oil, and omega-3s from cold water fish

The types of foods to avoid or at least lessen consumption of include fast food, highly processed and rapidly digested carbohydrates, boxed foods containing numerous unrecognizable ingredients (essentially manufactured food), fried food, and foods containing polyunsaturated oils such as corn, sunflower, or safflower oil.

You might even drink some green tea on a regular basis.

If you're looking for a way to make sense of healthy diet information and also make it easy to decide what to cook and eat, check out these web sites - the 7-Day Meal Planner was developed by my yourwellness partner, nutritionist Beth Avery and the anti-inflammatory diet was created by my teacher, Dr. Andrew Weil:

Thank you for your question, D. I hope this answer helps you stay well.

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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