At McKinney Smiles, McKinney, TX dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence and the rest of our staff want every patient to enjoy the very best health possible. What we eat tends to be something that we focus more during the holiday season than we do the rest of the year. However, the foods we consume on a daily basis can have a significant effect on not only our waistline, but our overall health, as well. In fact, research has even found that diet can help to reduce your risk of cancer.
While no one food can single handedly reduce your risk of developing cancer, the right combination of foods can help make a significant difference. When sitting down to eat, try striking a balance of one-third animal protein to two-thirds plant-based foods. Considered by the American Institute for Cancer Research as the ideal “New American Plate,” this type of diet can serve as an important tool in the fight against cancer. Here are several helpful tips to follow when planning your next meal.
Few food choices contain the number of cancer-fighting nutrients as eating a healthy assortment of fruits and vegetables. As a general rule of thumb, the more colorful a fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients they contain. Not only do the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables help to fight cancer, they also help you lose weight and maintain a healthy physique. Carrying around excess weight increases your risk of developing a number of different cancers, including esophagus, kidney, and colon cancer. To get the maximum benefit from these types of foods, make sure you eat at least five servings a day.
Eating more fruits and vegetables also offers significant advantages to your oral health. Fruits and vegetables contain high water content, which helps wash away lingering food particles and bacteria from your mouth while eating. That’s why these types of foods carry the reputation as being nature’s toothbrush.
Start off Strong
Since breakfast is already considered the most important meal of the day, you might as well start off eating foods that are both filling and can help fight cancer. An important B vitamin, folate can help reduce your risk of developing cancers of the breast, rectum, and colon. You can find an abundance of folate in a number of fortified breakfast cereals and whole wheat products. Strawberries, orange juice, and melons also provide ample amounts of folate. So consider starting your day with a bowl of cereal, a piece of whole-wheat toast, and a glass of OJ.
If you include a glass of OJ as part of your morning breakfast, you may want to consider brushing your teeth before breakfast. While this may seem counterintuitive, brushing in the morning is more about removing bacteria that builds up in your mouth overnight than it is about removing what you eat for breakfast. Plus, OJ has a high acidity level that causes tooth enamel to soften after drinking. Brushing while your enamel is weakened by the acids in OJ can actually damage the health of your teeth. So it’s better to brush early if drinking orange juice.
Pass on Processed
While the occasional hot dog or corned beef sandwich won’t do you any harm, a diet loaded with processed meats, such as ham, bologna, and sausage, could increase your risk of developing stomach and colorectal cancer. Not only will cutting back on eating these types of foods lower your risk of cancer, it will also help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Additionally, eating meats preserved through smoking or with salt increases your exposure to potential cancer-causing agents.
Processed foods typically contain more sugar and preservatives that can damage your oral health when eaten over the course of many years. Whole grain foods and fruits and vegetables make for better food choice options for both your oral and overall health for a variety of reasons.
Whether from the lycopene, the pigment that provides tomatoes with their vivid color, or some other compound researchers have yet to understand, a number of studies have linked the consumption of tomatoes to lowering a person’s risk of developing prostate and a number of other cancers. Additional studies have also found that processed tomato products like paste, juice, or sauce actually increase the fruit’s cancer-fighting potential.
The same pigment that provides tomatoes their vibrant color can also stain tooth enamel and steal a little luster from your smile. If you eat a diet high in tomatoes, you may want to talk to McKinney, TX dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence about whether your teeth and gums are healthy enough to undergo teeth whitening treatments.
Easy Being Green
While not entirely understood, evidence suggests that drinking tea, especially green tea, can help reduce your risk of cancer. Research has shown that green tea can slow or even prevent the development of cancerous cells in the colon, prostate, liver, and breast, while also showing similar effects in skin and lung tissue. A handful of long-term studies have shown a potential link between drinking tea and a lowered risk of pancreatic, stomach, and bladder cancers.
When to Say When
Studies have link the development of mouth, esophagus, larynx, throat, breast, and liver cancer with the consumption of alcohol. Even just two drinks a day for men and one for women could increase the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Individuals with a family history of cancer may want to consult their doctor about their own personal risk factors.