Eat your veggies. It might reduce your cancer risk, certified oncology dietitians said Wednesday.
Vonia Ickes with Sentara Healthcare, and Lynne Groeger with Riverside's Peninsula Cancer Institute participated in a Web chat on cancer and nutrition Wednesday at dailypress.com. Here are some highlights, condensed and edited for publication:
Q: Which vegetables are best to reduce the risk of breast cancer?
Groeger: You can't go wrong with any vegetables, but pick all of the different colors to get the most varied nutrition. Broccoli and sweet potatoes are always standouts in the nutrition world!
Q: Has there been a study to understand the cancer risk posed by microwaving foods?
Groeger: There are alarmist folks out there scaring people, but we believe microwaving to be safe. It is a great way to preserve nutritional content of foods compared to boiling vegetables, for example.
Ickes: Microwaving foods is recommended over heating veggies at high temperatures such as grilling, frying or broiling. Heating at high temperatures is suggested to destroy some of the nutritional value of these veggies and may also produce chemicals that increase risk of cancer.
Other methods such as microwaving, steaming, poaching and stewing are the better food preparation choices.
Q: Should I use BPA-free plastic containers to reheat food?
Groeger: I don't recommend heating in plastic. Glass or ceramic are safer. Then you can avoid the whole BPA issue.
Q: What kind of foods will help reduce your cancer risk?
Ickes: You need to eat a variety of fruits and veggies, at least five servings per day. Include more whole grains in your diet, limit intake of processed and red meat. You also want to maintain a healthy weight, as studies show that obesity leads to some forms of cancer.
Q. Can you name the most important/trustworthy supplements?
Groeger: Supplements are tricky because there is very little regulation on them. I use http://www.consumerlab.com to help make decisions about good supplements. They'll never replace good food, though.
Q: Would you include detox programs as a part of nutrition and even a preventative method?
Ickes: Evidence does not suggest that detox programs are successful in preventing cancer. Some may be harmful because laxatives and other agents used in detox can deplete the body of nutrients.
Groeger: The best "detox" is a plant-based, whole-foods diet.
Q. Any final tips or advice?
Groeger: Eat more veggies and fruits! Fresh, frozen, canned, dried — they all contribute. More beans/peas, less meat.
Don't try to change your diet overnight — it won't "stick." But do a little bit every week to eat less processed, more basic, wholesome foods and you'll feel a world of difference.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun