The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) recommends eating a mostly plant-based diet, limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat for lower cancer risk. Why all these plants? It’s because nature provides us with an abundance of health protectors, phytochemicals, which can be found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other plant foods! Phytochemicals are the naturally occurring chemicals that provide plants with their color, aroma and flavor. They also protect the plant from infection and predators. The AICR states that, in the human diet, these phytochemicals work together to fend off cancer and other diseases. Phytochemicals have the potential to stimulate the immune system, slow the growth rate of cancer cells and prevent DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Only by eating a diet rich in whole foods can we assure ourselves a full symphony of these disease-protecting nutrients. Follow these tips to make the most of these fabulous phytochemicals:
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Choose brightly colored or strongly flavored fruits and vegetables, which are the best sources of phytochemicals.
- Eat whole foods! Phytochemicals are most beneficial when consumed as whole foods, instead of supplements. Phytochemicals in supplement form are not as easily absorbed by the body as those from whole foods.
*Information pulled from aicr.org
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