Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, exceeded by heart diseases. Cancer is expected to be the leading cause of death in a couple of years, but we can change this trend by following a food pyramid and start a healthier lifestyle. If we follow the food pyramid guidelines by eating right and exercising, we can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Many studies show that if we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, we reduce the risk of many cancers, especially cancers in the gastrointestinal tract (the stomach and intestine) and in the lungs. Fruits and vegetables act as antioxidants to protect body cells against free radicals. Magnesium, B6 and folic acid (B9, folate) reduce the risk of cells transforming into cancer cells.
If you want to stay healthy it’s important to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and follow the food pyramid with its dietary guidelines. According to the American Dietary Guidelines, 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference of a 2000 calorie intake, with higher or lower amount depending on the calorie level. Vegetables have a more protective effect than fruits, so make sure you eat lots of vegetables for lunch and dinner.
Studies show that people who eat a lot of fish have a lower risk of developing kidney and prostate cancer. Researchers believe that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that may inhibit cancer growth.
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids and according to the American Dietary Guidelines, most of your fat intake should come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, which can be found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
Pulses such as peas, beans and lentils are good for your health. They contain plant estrogen, substances that affect the body’s circulation of sex hormones, which in turn reduces the risk of hormone dependent cancers in breast and prostate.
Pulses are rich in protein, carbohydrate, fiber and some B vitamins. Pulses are low in fat which is mostly of the healthy unsaturated kind. Reduce your intake of red meat and eat more pulses instead.
It has been shown that red meat from pig or cow can increase the risk of colon cancer. Meat contains a special form of iron that gives the body a great iron uptake but at the same time it may increase the amount of free radicals that are harmful to us.
Cut down on sugar. Avoid any sweets altogether including soft drinks. Sugar provides empty calories and increases the risk of pancreas.
The food pyramid does not emphasize tea, but drinking a few cups of tea every day can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. All varieties of tea are good, but green tea has the strongest protective effect.