About Me

Note from Maria: I am a Registered Dietitian with a Master of Public Health Degree in Nutrition from UNC at Chapel Hill. I have a passion for helping people with nutrition & wellness, especially moms. Women & moms provide care for everyone else often at the expense of considering their own needs. I hope to provide good resources to you to help you make nutrition and wellness a priority.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cancer Prevention.....

This goes without saying...cancer sucks! However, proper nutrition can help prevent cancer....yes, help prevent it! As I have stated before, nutrition science is very hard to study, because there is no practical way to do long term studies on people and have them only eat one thing to see how it affects the body. However, we do know that eating a healthy foods most of the time can decrease your risks. Cancer is caused by a series of events involving damaged cells.

Habits that help prevent cancer & why:

Eat foods rich in antioxidants. What are antioxidants anyway....it is a little hard to explain but here is my best shot with an analogy: Oxidation is a chemical reaction where one molecule, attacks another and causes damage, much like how iron turns to rust, which is an oxidation reaction. Antioxidants are chemicals which help prevent the damage from taking place, sort of like anti-rust paint on iron surfaces to protect them. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables including Vitamin C and Vitamin E. It is really important to understand that there are a lot of other compounds in plants called phytochemicals, that are antioxidants too. There are so many phytochemicals we haven't identified all of them. This is why it is so important to eat your fruits and veggies!! Processed foods where a lot of the phytochemicals have been removed and then tossing a few vitamins in, does not make up for all of the good things lost. Which is why processed foods are not usually the best choice. Also in general we often better absorb nutrients when they come from food. Taking a multi-vitamin pill does not always as effective as eating your vitamins and minerals. You have probably heard their names before here are some phytochemicals and some of the foods where you can find them:
  • cartenoids - carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, oranges
  • indoles/isothiocyanates - broccoli, cabbage and many greens
  • monoterpenes - cherries
  • polyphenols/flavonoids - onions, cranberries, red grapes, apples, berries, celery, tomatoes
  • allicin - garlic, onions
If you want to read more about phytochemicals, here is a great and colorful handout with more info: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn595.pdf 

Maintaining a healthy weight is also helpful for cancer prevention. We all need a little fat reserve, but try to maintain body weight in a normal range for your height. If you want to read more about the relationship and possible explanations between obesity and cancer follow this link.  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

Please let me know if you have questions!!

Eat well!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment