Eating for Health, Energy and Life!

By: Grace Iberle, RDN, LDN, CHC, CPT

What we choose to fuel our bodies with not only will give us energy, but can also decrease our risk for certain diseases and cancers. As June is celebrated as Men’s Health Month, prostate cancer is always part of the conversation since it is one of the most common cancers. A man’s risk is increased for prostate cancer if they are 65 years or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer. 

As a dietitian, I often get asked about superfoods and what the one fruit, vegetable, or specific nutrient someone needs to eat to prevent cancer, colds, the flu, etc. One of my all time favorite quotes is from the American Institute for Cancer Research, “No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.” With that being said, here are some common tips that not only men can follow to reduce their risk for prostate cancer, but that we can all take to reduce our cancer risks. 

Food First! 

  • Individual nutrients may not play a major role in cancer prevention. Eating the real food often means nutrients are working together to promote healthier outcomes. 

Aim to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day

  • Challenge yourself to include produce in every meal and snack 

    • Breakfast: Berries with yogurt

    • AM Snack: Carrots and hummus

    • Lunch: Include a side salad 

    • PM Snack: Apple with peanut butter 

    • Dinner: Roasted asparagus as a side or even better integrate vegetables in the main course! Tomato sauce jam packed with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini! 

Choose healthier fats

  • Choose fats from plant sources such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds 

Opt for leaner proteins more often

  • Less legs, less fat! 

    • Choose fish at least 2 times per week for heart healthy fats 

    • Chicken and poultry without the skin 

    • Lean cuts of beef and pork - anything that ends in round or loin tend to be leaner 

  • Incorporate plant based proteins 

    • Beans, lentils, tempeh, and tofu 

    • These decrease risk for disease while increasing fiber intake 

  • More protein, more muscle mass, right?! Not the case unless exercise is involved. Protein can help to prevent muscle loss, but to gain muscle, one must include weight training exercises. 

Don’t forget to exercise - not only to reduce cancer risk but to gain energy, promote healthy bones and lean muscle tissue! 

  • Aim to hit 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times per week for greater health benefits 

  • To focus on building muscle, strength train with weights or resistance bands at least two to three times a week 

Following these steps above are beneficial not only for men looking to reduce their prostate cancer risk, but for all of us looking to lead healthier lives!