When it comes to grocery shopping, we all know the key to eating healthy starts in the fruit and vegetable aisle.
But you don’t have to stop there to find good foods that have a health benefit, especially ones that could help prevent cancer.
Fresh foods provide a bevy of vital nutrients key to optimal health and to lowering the risk of illness. So shopping with a healthful outlook is important.
To help you get started, let’s take a tour around the grocery store. Here’s what to put in your cart:
Produce: Fruits and vegetables protect against a variety of cancers, such as those of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and lungs. Produce is high in fiber, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and help maintain a healthy digestive tract, among other benefits. Broccoli, for example, can turn on genes that slow cancer cell growth. If you don’t like broccoli, any cruciferous vegetable will do. Try Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustard and collard greens, or cauliflower.
Whole grains and fiber: Eating 6 ounces of whole-grain foods such as 100 percent whole-wheat bread each day may decrease your colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. Oatmeal, a 100 percent whole-grain food, has been shown to reduce inflammation and could reduce your cancer risk. Eating as few as 10 grams of fiber per day may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by 10 percent—so look for cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
Beans and peas: Dry beans and peas, such as kidney beans and split peas, contain health-promoting substances that may protect against cancer. These powerhouse foods are rich in fiber, protein and folate. They also contain phytochemicals that increase the destruction of cancer cells.
Coffee: Even one cup of coffee per day could decrease your risk of endometrial and liver cancer by 7 percent to 14 percent. Drinking more may be additionally beneficial. Coffee speeds cancer-causing substances through your digestive tract and contains phytochemicals.
Nuts: Walnuts and almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals that can decrease inflammation and damage from free radicals—harmful molecules that can lead to cancer.
From Michigan Health