Are you eating an anticancer diet?

If you have heard the words “You have cancer,” you also probably felt the overwhelming desire to do something to help yourself overcome it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is make your internal environment a most unwelcoming place for cancer. One thing that has a big effect on cancer is diet.

Food is not just something we use to comfort ourselves, or as a way to connect with others, food IS medicine. The food we eat directly “talks” to our body, telling it to turn on or off pathways that lead to health and healing. We want to use food to turn on as many healing pathways as we can.

What kind of foods am I referring to? Plant foods. A whole food, plant-based diet has been shown to prevent and reduce the risk of many of the chronic diseases that plague our communities today, including cancer. That’s because plants deliver something called phytonutrients. A big word that simply means, plant nutrients. There are many different categories of these plant nutrients and we need to eat a variety of these every day to receive the benefits they bestow.

Which plants have phytonutrients?

All plants contain nutrients that fight cancer, each plant contains a different class of phytonutrients. You can know which foods have a certain class of nutrients by the color of the food. Many plant foods contain more than one type of phytonutrient.

Are some more potent than others?

One of the most potent groups are the antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are arugula, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale, just to name a few.

How do you know you are eating phytonutrients?

You can rest assured you are eating phytonutrients when you eat colorful foods. Not artificially colored, but naturally pigmented, like tomatoes, watermelon, carrots, all shades of bell peppers, broccoli, celery, blueberries, eggplant, onions, and garlic. The more colorful the better! So make it a goal to eat a rainbow every day.

Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are getting the phytonutrients you need, while keeping cancer at bay, along with other parts of the plant that help the phytonutrients work at their maximum effectiveness.

By Regina Topelson, MBA, RDN, CLT, Integrative Nutritionist