Eating Right in the Fight Against Cancer
Choosing to practice healthy living habits can go a long way toward preventing disease. Diet, exercise and stress management all play important roles in maintaining good health and reducing the risk of developing disease, including cancer. Maintaining a proper diet can seem like a daunting task, yet it is an essential part of a healthy living plan. A significant risk factor for developing cancer is obesity, and obesity is a problem associated with poor dietary choices. Those who lead less active lifestyles are also at a greater risk for developing cancer. Research shows that making lifestyle changes including healthier eating choices and a regular exercise regimen can improve overall health and even prevent and treat cancer and other chronic disease.
Like many other conditions, cancer is a disease in which inflammation plays a primary role. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is made up of highly processed, low nutrient foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats, sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives that contribute to increased inflammation in the body. When our bodies are overloaded with the toxic chemicals prevalent in our foods and our environment, it can lead to illnessand disease.
It is commonly known that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy eating routine. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect bodily cells and support the immune system. These colorful nutrient-dense foods help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and to reduce our risk of diseases like cancer. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which is necessary for proper digestion, and important in preventing chronic disease. Fiber plays a critical role in slowing the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and is also very important in managing cholesterol levels. Because of the high fiber and water content of fruits and vegetables, we experience a feeling of fullness and are therefore less likely to overeat.
Eating nutrient-dense foods in their natural state is a key factor in maintaining optimal wellness. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, other healthy foods to incorporate into the diet are whole grains, dried beans, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, eggs, seafood and lean meats. These important foods are packed with fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, and powerful antioxidants which are all instrumental in supporting insulin levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism. It is important to remember that water is also a necessary nutrient and is required for proper hydration and for removing toxins from the body.
In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise is important to reduce the risk for developing cancer. At least 30 minutes of regular exercise 5 days per week is recommended by The American Cancer Society. Exercise helps to boost the immune system, regulate hormone and energy levels, support the body’s overall defense and repair process, and promote heart health. Staying fit and eating right are essential components of a healthy living plan to prevent and combat disease. Working to maintain a healthy lifestyle is a critical step in the fight against cancer.