Everyone wants to eat “healthier.” The hype is often promoted by the food industry with heath claims on all their products they can possibly get away with. But what is the truth? No one knows for sure, but there are some foods that have gained this reputation with some degree of respect. Here they are.
There is much discussion about the merits of plant-based diets. The basis of cancer prevention involves not only a diet full of vitamins and minerals but also loaded with phytochemicals (plant chemicals with chemoprevention properties).
For example, it has been hypothesized that a diet rich in flax seed, cruciferous vegetables, and fruits and vegetables in general could significantly reduce the risk of breast, colon, prostate, lung and other cancers. Nutrition and Cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutrition Journal 3:19-30, 2004.
A few easy ways to increase phytochemicals in your diet is to:
- Double your typical serving of vegetables.
- Sprinkle flax seed on your oatmeal or cereal.
- Try a new fruit or vegetable each week.
A recent trend in the food business is the use of the unidentified and non-nondescript meanings of “real food” and “clean food.” The terms appear to be favorites of “foodies” (whatever that means) and perhaps Millennials. The following article from Restaurant News attempts to define what they may mean to the average consumer and how the industry is responding. Click HERE.
Most of the time, dietitians/nutritionists say that all foods can fit into a healthy diet. However, there are exceptions. I would have to add highly processed foods, though. I never bought into the “all foods” thing.
Nutrition and cancer associations have been studied for years and unfortunately never have produced any practical, reasonable or consistent results as far as dietary therapeutic or preventive effects. Here are two interesting studies that at least suggest that maybe, just maybe, some cancer cells could be controlled by dietary phytochemicals from plant foods. The question remains as to just what combinations of these plant chemicals do the best job or are most efficacious and safe.
So what to do in the meantime? In my opinion, the take home message is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits containing phytochemicals that work in a synergistic manner rather than individually. It appears that eating one type of food the media often labels “superfood” for example, would probably have little effect on cancer cell destruction. That does help to explain why cancer research has not so far produced any promising dietary interventions. But stay tuned as we learn more. Be aware that dietary treatments for cancer have dominated the area of nutrition quackery for decades. There are few clinical trials available that test the diet-cancer hypothesis. For sure, cancer patients should not be reliant on untested cancer treatments from any source.
An interesting video about this topic has been published from Michael Greger, MD, FACLM on his website, NutritionFacts.org. To view this website and video:
Have you tried to find out more about how to eat to follow a Mediterranean diet? Here is an excellent guide for breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas?
This is an excellent idea but just have to speak out here for the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN). RD’s have been conducting supermarket tours for decades and many are employed by supermarkets. Most doctors are not well trained in the science of nutrition while RDs have undergraduate degrees in nutrition and graduate degrees in nutrition or related health fields. They are required to complete an internship and pass a national exam plus participate in continuing education activities.