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Good nutrition plays a significant role in protecting health and preventing illness. To reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, start with a smart grocery list.
Make your list in advance and stick to it. When you get to the store, skip the middle aisles – that’s where you’ll find processed, prepackaged food – and shop the perimeter instead. Spend most of your time in the fresh produce section choosing a variety of leafy greens, high-fiber, low-starch vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Skim through the meat and dairy section, buying organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and dairy products. Purchase beans and legumes for additional protein and whole grain breads and cereals for added fiber. Avoid processed meats, boxed meals, and refined sugar treats and cereals. These types of foods provide minimal nutrients and can actually impair the immune system.
For examples of cancer-fighting foods, check out this sample grocery list from MD Anderson.
Is it better to buy organic produce? While the verdict is still out about the link between organic foods and cancer prevention, eating organic fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of ingesting dangerous pesticides and chemicals.
Focus on organic foods that pack the most punch. Every year, the Environmental Working Group identifies twelve fruits and vegetables that carry more pesticide residue than others, known as the Dirty Dozen™. Grab these from the organic section before adding them to your cart:
In most areas, you’ll find organic foods in the produce aisle of your grocery stores. New Pioneer, just minutes from The Ghosh Center, is a reliable, year-round source of organic food that meets high standards for health and quality. In the warmer months, organic produce is available from local farms and farmer’s markets.
No matter where you purchase it, wash fruits and vegetables to remove dirt, bacteria and any traces of chemicals. Scrub thick-skinned produce, such as root vegetables or melons, with a brush. Soak and rinse leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, to eliminate dirt and insects.
While washing with cold water is generally effective, you can take it a step further by using a washing solution. Make your own by filling a spray bottle with three-parts water to one-part vinegar. Add a little fresh-squeezed lemon for additional disinfecting power and be sure to rinse and dry produce after spraying.