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Simple Ways to Build Your Cancer-Prevention Diet

What you eat – and don’t eat – can make a big difference in your health, including your risk for cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A good place to start, they advise, is to take a hard look at what you typically eat each day, and try to build a healthy diet for yourself and your family.

A healthy diet, according to the ACS, should include a variety of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains and healthy fats like olive oil. At the same time, you should try to limit the amount of processed and fried foods, unhealthy fats, sugars and refined carbs you eat.

CalvertHealth registered dietitian Karen Mohn, RDN, LDN, CDCES, describes what a healthy diet looks like. “This is the A+ diet,” she said, “and something we should all try to strive for.”

  • Eat a minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Choose 100 percent whole grains (foods rich in fiber are going to give you energy)
  • Choose lean protein sources (like chicken, fish and beans, which are going to help your immune system)
  • Add beans and legumes to your diet
  • Enjoy nuts and seeds (which are healthy fats)
  • Choose low fat dairy products (provide important vitamins and minerals such as calcium and Vitamin D)
  • Drink plenty of fluids and water (should be at least 70 percent of daily hydration)
  • Limit your alcohol consumption (not more than one serving per day for a female and not more than two per day for a male)

Focus on adding “whole foods” as close to their natural state as possible. For example, eat an unpeeled apple instead of drinking apple juice. Look for ways to add more fruit and veggies throughout the day. Add fresh fruit to your whole grain, low-sugar breakfast cereal (like oatmeal).

Dip carrots, celery and peppers into hummus for a snack. For dinner, top a baked potato with broccoli, sautéed veggies or salsa. The fiber found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains plays a key role in keeping your digestive system clean and healthy.

More Healthy Eating Tips

The ACS recommends baking, broiling or poaching poultry and fish instead of frying and charbroiling. Don’t supersize your plate – and yourself! If you enjoy some high-calorie foods once in a while, eat smaller portions.

Be a savvy consumer. Pay attention to food labels in the grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings and dips. Don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables and fruit (not in sauce or juice).

One more tip: Shop the outer edges of the grocery store. The perimeter has less processed food.
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