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Expert Analysis Highlights:
Here are eight important diet tips, and read more below for an explanation of these points:
1) Look for free range milk, eggs and meats
2) Take Omega 3 supplementation
3) Seek wild-caught fish
4) Ask for clean water seafood
5) Buy organic foods (chemical-free)
6) Avoid hydrogenated fats
7) Avoid processed food
8) Eat local
50 years ago our food largely came from local farms with green pastures. Today, most food we eat comes from factories and it travels 1,500 miles before it’s consumed. At the same time we are seeing an increase in certain types of cancer, despite many medical advances. Is there a connection? Its simply too hard to study something that broad to say definitively. But consider the following points when choosing your food.
Studying the cause of cancer is extremely complex. Assessing the 20 or 30 year effects of environmental or nutritional changes on cancer is difficult to measure and costly to do right. Also, the absence of research supporting a connection does not mean there isn’t one.
Historically, public health research has lagged behind the introduction of cancer-causing agents in the environment. Big industries introduce products to market faster than the public health community can study them. Take for example, cigarettes. It took decades for public health researchers to confirm what they had long suspected–that they are bad for your health and cause cancer. Cancer is believed to be multi-factorial, which means it could be caused by a combination of internal, genetic, and/or environmental factors. What we do know is that certain types of cancer like colon cancer have a slight association with a high-fat diet.
Food increasingly is processed and not natural. It has more fat, sugar and artificial ingredients. Some in the public health community have warned that such processed food could be associated with certain types of cancer. When animals are fed corn products and denied green pastures as they are when raised in factory farms, they concentrate the wrong types of molecules in their system. This is so common that many doctors now recommend that patients take Omega-3 pills to balance out the high Omega-6 fats found in most processed food. The use of Omega-3 has been studied and found to be beneficial in preventing repeat heart attacks, and that’s probably just the beginning of what we are learning about the Omega fat imbalance. So avoid hydrogenated and trans fats, and seek out Omega 3 or Free Range products in your diet.
One great source of Omega 3’s are fish. Specifically its high in fish livers which are purest in clean waters like Norway or Alaska. Unfortunately, seafood increasingly come from areas where toxic metals are found, such as the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Omega 3 pills extracted from small fish in Virginia, for example, are loaded with pollutants. Alaskan fish on the other hand come from clean waters and are an excellent source of Omega 3’s.
Free Range food is important for good health because Free Range animals get more appropriate nutrition for their muscles. Those muscles are what we eat as meat. Most any fast food has factory-farm style animals raised under inhumane conditions, fed processed corn products. The movie “Food Inc.” exposes this industry showing how the artificial food is even spray-painted green at times to trick the chickens into eating it. Those chemicals can’t be good for your body. Free Range foods are safer and more likely to be chemical free. Free Range products taste better too.
Every nutritionist agrees that our consumer culture has minimized fruits and vegetables. These are important for many reasons, including the magical potential of anti-oxidants. Its believed that these compounds may have a slight benefit in preventing cancer, although further research is needed to know if they are really helping. At minimum fruits and vegetables are important for balancing one’s diet. A good variety of fruits and vegetables may eliminate the need to buy expensive vitamins, although Vitamin D and iron supplementation may still be recommended by your doctor if your levels are low.
Finally, the organic movement is good for public health. There are many theories that genetically modifiable food and food grown with pesticides are not good for your health. Trace amounts of pesticides have been detectable in people’s blood, and over years, such an accumulation of chemicals could be shown in the future to have an impact on cancer. I highly recommend organic foods to young patients interested in taking care of their health and reducing their risk of cancer. Until the research community catches up with the processed food industry, eat local food, organic food, and clean water seafood.
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