Using your diet to help prevent cancer

Published 1:52 pm Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can you prevent cancer with your cart?

Did you know one-third of all cancers could be prevented through the food you put in your shopping cart (and hence into your body) and the amount you move your body to keep you at a healthy weight? Tobacco use is a separate risk and itself is responsible for one-third of all cancer deaths.

No single food can prevent cancer itself, but strong evidence shows that a diet filled with a variety of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower the risk for many cancers.

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Evidence also suggests it’s the overall diet that offers the most protection, with the synergy of compounds working together to demonstrate anti-cancer effects.

Vegetables and fruits are the lowest-calorie foods in the entire grocery store, but they are rich in nutrients including antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient to help maintain a healthy weight, as carrying excess body fat increases our risk for seven types of cancers.

You can change your health, and it starts with your cart. As you shop, fill up on fruits and vegetables, so that you can incorporate them into each meal with a goal of having half your plate covered with fruits and vegetables.

You can also think of this as a daily goal: strive for five cups of fruits and vegetables per day (no juice included). It really does start with the cart. And in the parking lot — where you can get a few more steps in by parking farther away from the door. Try a pedometer and walk away to 10,000 steps per day. Steps and bites count.


Growing the Little Sprouts

As a registered dietitian, my goal is to promote fruit and vegetable intake in a fun and fresh way.

From my experience working and teaching children, I know that kids can get excited too about fruits and vegetables if you make them fun.

If you want to get your kids interested in eating vegetables in a fun way, start by attending a “Sprouts — Get Out and Grow Planting Party Open House” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 28, in the Sprouts Garden at Austin Hy-Vee as a family.

At the open house, you will learn more about upcoming classes, and, kids will participate in fun activities and get to plant the garden as well.

This summer, there will be classes in the garden highlighting vegetables and teaching children the connection of fresh food to good health. I am excited to announce a new partnership with The Hormel Institute for 2012 to provide education to kids on cancer prevention in a fun way at the garden.

Fresh citrus salsa

Serves 20 (1/4)-cup servings

This recipe contains four different types of antioxidants, each one protecting against different cancers.

For a bigger antioxidant boost, pair with colorful fruits, whole grains or lean meats.

All You Need

•3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

•2 navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and chopped

•1/4 cup chopped green onion

•1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

•1 tbsp Hy-Vee light Italian dressing

•Hy-Vee salt and Hy-Vee black pepper to taste

All You Do

1. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients.

2. Serve with whole grain chips or whole grain crackers if desired.

Source: Hy-Vee Test Kitchen

If you have a favorite cancer-fighting recipe using any of the cancer-fighting ingredients above, post it to my Facebook wall: for a chance to appear in an upcoming column.

Hy-Vee cancer prevention shopping list

Cruciferous Vegetables

Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower


Garlic chives, Red and

yellow onions


Beans, Beets, Carrots, All citrus fruits and fruit juices: Oranges, grapefruit, clementines, Ground flax seed, Kale, Papayas, Mangoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Tea (green and black), Watercress, Whole grains


(more absorbable from cooked tomatoes)

Fresh tomatoes, Tomato juice, Tomato purees, Tomato sauces, Tomato soup


Celery, Parsley, Rosemary