Recent research into the effects of diets on cancer sufferers have thrown up some extremely interesting results. Many of us are aware of the dangers of too much salt, not enough vitamins and minerals and additives in processed meals that are either harmful or do us no good whatsoever.
If you’re wondering why I’ve not included fats in that little list it’s because a lot of what you read about the danger of too much fat is sooo misleading you wouldn’t believe. People do not get thin or healthy by cutting out fat in total. Their diet improves by increasing healthy fats and kicking out saturates but that’s perhaps for another day.
Through research it is estimated that approximately 29,000 cases of cancer are directly linked to a poor diet every single year. Yet a few simple changes in dietary habits can ultimately turn a poor diet around. Typical cancers that are associated with eating the wrong foods over a period of time are those you’d expect: gastric tract, oral, bowel/stomach and even breast cancer threats can be radically reduced by knowing what to avoid and making healthier substitutions.
Very few of us eat enough fibre anyway. Not only will increasing fibre help to keep your intestines clean and your bowel regular, but it will also stop food gestating there, which can, according to research, reduce the risk of bowel cancer by 25%.
A good source of fibre is fruit and veg, although many people think only of whole grain, pulses and cereals, especially bran, as delivering fibre. So, as well as delivering essential vitamins, minerals and natural sugars – elements in their own rite guardians against some of those aforementioned cancers – they can help keep your system fluent as part of an overall nutritious diet.
A fantastic list of vegetables and fruits high in fibre can be found at fruitsandveggiesmorematters http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fiber-in-fruits-and-vegetables
Many people don’t realise that pork is a red meat but it is one of only a handful of red and processed meat associated with bowel cancer. People who eat higher volumes of either/or red or processed meats are putting themselves at higher risk. As well as pork, take any meat you care to think of from a pig, beef in its many forms (steaks, burgers, etc) or lamb and eat it in voluminous amounts and you’re increasing the risk of bowel cancer.
Processed meals – even those tagged ‘good for you’ as they’re ‘low fat’ (don’t get me started) – rely on salt to add taste. Check your guideline daily amount compared to how much each processed meal you buy contains. I promise you, you will be shocked. Less salt equals less chance of many of those cancers.
If you’re genuinely concerned that you’re culpable for any of the above poor eating habits, try these simple changes. Your sources of carbohydrate, such as bread, rice or pasta, are all available with a wholegrain alternative. Swapping to wholegrain will add much-needed fibre to your diet.
Salad doesn’t have to feel like a snack. By adding your protein and healthy fats through roast chicken, tuna or nuts and dried fruit you can make any salad into a meal. You can also incorporate turkey mince into your diet rather than beef, lamb or pork mince, often higher in protein and with more good fats. Alternatively, try vegetable grills made with potato, onion and peppers rather than a normal burger – just as tasty but with none of the risk that too much red meat can bring.
More information on all of these topics can be found at
www.cancerresearchuk.org/health or why not enrol on one of the many healthy cookery courses we have to really get to know how to cook tastily from scratch so you know exactly what is going into each meal you serve?