Can eating fruits and vegetables help prevent cancer?

A steady diet of fried food and extra dessert, unfortunately, will not pave the road to a healthy life. If it hasn't sunk in yet that green foods are healthy foods, here are two more reasons to conquer your childhood fear of fruits and veggies:

* An estimated one-third of cancer-related deaths are caused by poor dietary habits.
* Eating vegetables and fruits is associated with a decreased risk of cancers of the esophagus, oral cavity, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, prostate, larynx and possibly other cancers.

When it's so easy to grab fast food on the run or get a quick snack from a vending machine, the real challenge is sticking to a well-balanced diet -- especially if you don't like vegetables.

Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets and spinach are chock full of nutrients that can help your body fight cancer and stay healthy.

Consider the following tips to make these veggies easier to swallow.

Eat pizza. Both broccoli and spinach can be excellent pizza toppers. Low-fat cheese and fresh tomatoes also are a healthy alternative.

Have a snack. Slice and bake beets with herbs and olive oil for a cancer-fighting snack -- baking beets intensifies sweetness and preserves nutrients that may be lost when they are boiled. Mix cooked spinach with low-fat sour cream or yogurt, scallions and garlic to make a great dip or potato topping.

Sneak them in. Replace lettuce with spinach in your next salad, or add spinach to your usual mix of greens. Shop carefully. Smaller brussel sprouts with a bright green color give off less of a cabbage-like smell when cooked. The thicker the spinach stem, the more bitter the taste.

Plan well. Eat satisfying, nutritious breakfasts and lunches to ward off hunger and leave you with more energy at the end of the day.

But remember, you cannot live by vegetables alone. In addition to fruits and vegetables, include breads, cereals, grains, rice, pasta and beans in your diet. Instead of refined grains, choose whole grains. Limit your meat intake, and choose beans for additional protein. The scientific basis for these recommendations is strong, particularly for colon cancer and cancers of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.

No diet is foolproof, but the risk of developing cancer can be reduced if you eat the five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Make the produce department your first stop on the road to healthier living -- and be sure to clean your plate.

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Source: www.myuhc.com