Eat Your Way to Good Health
There is no particular “super food”or eating plan that will safeguard you from cancer. However, research shows that eating a diet high in vegetables and whole grains and low in preservatives and fat can significantly reduce your risk of cancer and a slew of other diseases.
The Mediterranean style of eating emphasizes a wide variety of produce, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats. It has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, and a reduced incidence of certain cancers and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Munching on Mediterranean-style fare can also help women get 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day as recommended by the US Department of Agriculture.
Here’s a day’s worth of meals and snacks based on the Mediterranean style of eating. Give it a try and start reaping the benefits that a healthy diet can provide:
Sauté onions and peppers in ½ teaspoon olive oil. Scramble veggies together with 3 egg whites (or ½ cup egg substitute), 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, and a tiny sprinkle of salt.
Make a quick trail mix of 10 almonds, a small handful of dried berries or cherries, and a few dark chocolate chips.
Spread a whole wheat pita with 1 tablespoon hummus. Stuff the pita with 3 ounces sliced grilled chicken and 3 slices each of tomato and cucumber. Top with crumbled feta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy with a fruit salad made with 1 cup each of grapes and melon.
Marinate 6 large shrimp for 20 minutes with 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary), 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Roast the shrimp in a 400 degree oven for 6–7 minutes or until pink and opaque. For a side dish, sauté 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, and 2 tablespoons golden raisins in 1½ teaspoons olive oil. Toss in a bag of fresh spinach, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook until wilted (about 2 minutes). Serve ½ of the spinach with the shrimp and ½ cup cooked whole wheat couscous.
Have ½ cup Greek yogurt drizzled with 2 teaspoons honey. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon walnuts.
- Swap out butter for healthy fats such as olive or canola oil when possible.
- Aim to incorporate something fresh into every meal. Substitute a big green salad for canned veggies at dinner or enjoy fruit for dessert.
- Eat fish at least twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are healthy choices.
- Try something different. Experiment with out-of-the ordinary grains such as quinoa, bulgur, or barley. Or peruse your local grocery store’s salad bar for new tastes such as beets, chick peas, and artichoke hearts.
- Snack on nuts. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats and vitamins, but don’t overindulge. Nuts are calorie-dense—just a few will do the trick.
What to Drink
Make water your go-to refreshment to complement Mediterranean foods. Both calorie- and caffeine-free, water hydrates and helps you digest high fiber foods and flush toxins from the body.
Drinking water may also reduce the risk of bladder cancer because it dilutes cancer-causing toxins in the urine and shortens the time that urine is held in the bladder.
If you drink alcohol, it’s okay to sip the occasional glass of wine with dinner. But, stick to just one alcoholic beverage per day. Women who consume more may increase their risk of developing breast, liver, colorectal, and head and neck cancers.
By Stacy Brooks