Eating healthy to prevent cancer

Kale

Nutritionists and mothers agree, eating vegetables is good for your general health. But consuming some specific foods, such as kale, whole grains, and beans could also help ward off cancer.

The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, packed with natural chemicals that work to stimulate the immune system, can help reduce the kind of cell damage that can lead to cancer.

“People should try to get away from the overly processed foods and get back to more whole food ingredients,” says Debra DeMille, nutritional counselor at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital (JKCC). “The whole foods themselves can have cancer fighting properties and secondary prevention properties that can prevent heart disease, anti-inflammatory diseases like arthritis, or even high blood pressure.”

To help people stay informed about what specific foods should be part of a healthy diet, the Perelman School of Medicine has placed information about smart eating on its website. It also offers classes on good nutrition at Pennsylvania Hospital.

The “Nutrition Blog” on the JKCC website offers visitors tasty and healthy seasonal recipes that fend of disease, such as Kale Salad. Kale, says DeMille, contains cancer-fighting properties that researchers believe may prevent certain lesions from turning into cancerous cells. “The kale has folate and fiber in it,” DeMille explains. “The darker the green, the healthier and richer it is in antioxidants.”

Fruit

Mark Stehle

The American Institute of Cancer Research suggests that a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables can help reduce the kind of cell damage that can lead to cancer.

Additional recipes on the website include cancer-fighting Winter Miso Soup, Kale and Carrot Soup, and Hot and Smokey Baked Beans.

DeMille says these recipes have cholesterol-lowering properties, and they will also help people manage their weight.  

For those looking for more hands-on instruction, Pennsylvania Hospital offers classes with nutritionists four times a year. The nutritionists demonstrate how to incorporate foods that have cancer-fighting properties into an everyday diet.

Two spring cooking demonstrations are scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Thursday, March 29, at 2 p.m. at Pennsylvania Hospital’s offices in the Farm Journal Building at 230 W. Washington Square, Suite 102. To register, call 215-829-6560. The classes are free and open to the public.

Originally published on March 8, 2012