Eating seems like such a basic concept. When your body is hungry, feed it. When you feel full, stop eating. Some argue that food is food and at the end of the day, calories are calories. Make sure you don’t get too many or too little. Seems pretty basic, right? Sure, the actual act of eating is indeed a pretty basic concept. However, simplicity doesn’t negate importance. When it comes to eating, and more importantly, the foods we choose to eat, it’s vital that we realize the power our decisions hold and just how influential those choices are to our lives.
I came across a very informative article in the February issue of Austin Fit Magazine (I’ve got family there that like to send me good reads) that seemed to really hit home this idea of how simple yet important our nutritional choices are. The article focused primarily on cancer prevention and the kinds of choices we could make in our everyday lives to hopefully keep this terrible disease at bay.
Choice #1: Limit Alcohol
People like their alcohol, and every once and while it is totally fine to enjoy a drink. In fact, some alcoholic beverages such as red wine have some healthy benefits when enjoyed in moderation. The general rule of thumb is one drink per day for the ladies and two for the guys. However, lots of us have a misunderstanding of what exactly constitutes a serving. A serving of wine is 5 oz while a serving of beer is 12 oz. If you check out eatright.org, you can get an up to date guideline for serving sizes on all the most popular alcoholic beverages. Next time you pour yourself a glass of your favorite red or white, double check you’re getting the right amount by measuring it out. Those extra ounces can add up over time.
Choice #2: Avoid Sugary Drinks and Energy Drinks
Sugary drinks refer to anything from sodas to Gatorades to orange juice. Soda just isn’t good for you and is best kept out of your diet entirely. Now, Gatorade on the other hand, has its time and place. It is definitely a live saver when training for and competing in endurance events. It just isn’t something you want to drink a ton of on a daily basis. Juices are also are okay in moderation but do come with a pretty decent amount of sugar. It is usually just better to stick with eating the whole food version of these juices. For example, eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice. Lastly, “energy drinks”, much like soda, really have no place in our diet. They are full of scary ingredients and are just generally a bad idea. Have a cup of coffee instead.
Choice #3: Eat a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
You should try and fill at least half of your plate with fruits and veggies. The more plant-based your diet is, the more vitamins and minerals you are getting into your system. While any and all produce should be welcomed in your diet, some great veggie choices are dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and carrots.
As far as fruit goes, berries of all kinds and apples are great choices. In general, the more colorful your diet, the more antioxidants you are getting. Antioxidants are major players in the fight against cancer. Make sure you eat the rainbow!
Choice #4: Limit the Red Meat
Recent studies have shown that individuals who eat roughly 10 oz. (or more) of red meat per week have a better chance of developing colon cancer than those who do not. While red meat is a good source of iron, protein, and B vitamins it is important to keep your servings in check. If you choose to eat it, ladies should aim for just about 5oz per week and men about 8oz per week.
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