With our annual holiday of eating wonderful foods just around the corner, don’t you wonder what foods are actually good for you? More than that, if you are struggling with cancer or other debilitating diseases, aren’t their foods that can really help you regain your health?
The answer is simply, yes.
And so what is a good way to start? Buy and eat organic.
Organic foods are available in almost every supermarket. So, is eating organic better for you? When it comes to reducing your cancer risks, the answer is yes for this simple reason. Eating organics can reduce your risk of ingesting commercially produced pesticides and chemicals which can further compromise your immune system. Beyond that, researchers have found that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day can reduce cancer risks.
And so the cleanliness of food is key, which seems like common sense. But there are still some tips for making sure you are eating what’s truly good for you.
- Wash and scrub fruits and vegetables
This will help remove dirt, bacteria and any remaining chemicals from the skin of the fruit or vegetable. You also can peel fruits and vegetables, but you might lose some fiber and nutrients and so it’s better to just cleanse them well.
- Keep an updated list of the “Dirty Dozen”
Did you know that some fruits and vegetables are “dirtier” than others? This is because the farming industry has learned that the use of certain chemicals to grow some kinds of foods yields much greater crops. There is a list of pesticides and their levels found in commonly eaten produce available from the Environmental Working Group. Use this to decide which organics to buy, and which non-organic fruits and vegetables are safer choices “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.”
- Carefully read the labels
In the US, labels can tell you a lot about how the food you are eating is grown and processed. In fact, that “Organic” label you see on organic foods is one such label. Years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture created its organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. And so when you see the USDA seal, you know it meets those standards.
- Other claims to look for
You also can scrutinize your food to see whether the following food claims appear somewhere on the packaging:
- 100% organic: All ingredients are organic.
- Organic: At least 95% of the ingredients are organic.
- Made with organic ingredients: At least 70% of the ingredients are organic.
Just because it’s organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Many organic foods are high in calories, fat and sugar. But taking the time to look carefully at the nutrition label, you can avoid things like corn syrups and artificial ingredients.
- Cancer fighting foods
No single food can truly protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with the plant foods we’ve discussed above such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers. In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.
Research also shows that excess body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers. Vegetables and fruits are relatively low in calories. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber, which also can help with weight management. That is one reason to fill at least 2/3 of your Thanksgiving plate with plant foods!