Krista Rondeau, BSc, Dietitian
When it comes to fighting cancer, vegetables and fruit play an important
role. If the only change you made was to eat at least five servings
of vegetables and fruit each day, cancer rates could drop by as
much as 20 percent. There is convincing evidence that diets high
in vegetables and fruit protect against cancer of the colon, stomach,
rectum, esophagus, lung, mouth, and pharynx. They probably also
protect against cancers of the breast, bladder, pancreas, and larynx.
Why are vegetables and fruit so powerfully protective? The answer
lies within the foods themselves. In addition to vitamins and minerals,
vegetables and fruit contain thousands of natural substances called
phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are chemicals found naturally in
plants, many of which contribute to the colours and flavours of
vegetables and fruit. Some of the different types of phytochemicals
that may have a role in cancer prevention include carotenoids (e.g.
beta carotene, lycopene, lutein), vitamins (e.g. vitamin C and E,
folic acid), minerals (e.g. selenium), allium compounds (found in
the onion and garlic families), and isoflavones (found in soybeans
and other plants). Research has shown that the individual phytochemicals
are not the “magic bullet” in cancer prevention; rather,
it appears these substances work together in complex ways. In fact,
recent studies involving supplements of fibre, beta-carotene, vitamin
E and other components of food have failed to show a reduced cancer
Focusing on whole foods rather than supplements will give you the
greatest chance of consuming beneficial phytochemicals, especially
those that have not yet been discovered!
How to make vegetables and fruits a part of your daily routine:
a bowl of fresh fruit on your table or desk.
easy-to-grab items on hand to take with you on the go, in the
car, in your purse or backpack like apples, pears, bananas, oranges,
canned fruit cups, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, dried fruit,
grapes or juice packs.
like sliced bananas, apples, pears and berries are also great
for dipping with a low fat fruit-flavoured yogurt or cream cheese.
fresh, frozen or canned fruit to yogurt.
chopped fresh fruit to canned fruit cocktail to spice up your
a nutritious trail mix with pretzels, nuts, whole-grain cereal
and plenty of dried fruit like raisins, apricots, cranberries,
figs or prunes.
a pierced potato in a microwave at home, school or work.Top it
with salsa and low fat sour cream or a creamy low fat salad dressing.
hot apple crisp with canned apples and add blueberries or dried
a new flavour sensation by mixing in cinnamon and sugar on sliced
or canned apples.
a refreshing glass of spicy tomato or other vegetable cocktail
on the rocks.
from Snack on This! (Charlotte Varem-Sanders, Lakeland Regional
Health Authority) and Why Vegetables and Fruit (Alberta Cancer Board).
1 can (398 mL) peaches, sliced and drained
1 can (398 mL) pears, halves and drained
1 cup prunes, pitted and halved
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1 1/2 cups low fat granola cereal
1/3 cup orange juice
In 6-cup shallow microwave bowl toss peaches, pears, prunes, orange
peel and orange juice. Top with granola. Microwave on high 5 minutes.
Let stand 2 minutes. Spoon into bowls. Serve with plain yogurt if
desired. Makes 4-6 servings.
Join us for Snactivity (brought to you
FREE of charge by the Boys and Girls Club and CHR) at 1 pm on Monday,
May 10 to find out how to help your child develop healthy eating
habits or for Healthy Eating on the Go
($10) at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, May 12 an interactive session on
how to feed your family healthfully even when you’re rushed.
Please contact Krista
with any questions about nutrition.
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