Healthy eating for living well

By: Primacy Dietitians, Feb 03, 2010
  Article

Whether you want to prevent cancer, deal with menopause or just generally eat better, try these healthy tips

Maintaining a healthy diet can make a difference in your energy level, your mood and the shape of your body. But did you know a healthy diet has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and can even ease the symptoms of menopause?

Reduce the risk

A balanced diet may reduce the risk of some types of cancers. Try following these tips to help ensure you get a balanced diet.

  • Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a balanced diet. Using supplements or singling out one food is not as effective as eating whole foods in lowering cancer risk. Aim for a minimum of seven servings per day.
  • The Canadian Cancer Society reports that vitamin D in your diet may be helpful in preventing cancer.
    The sun is a source of vitamin D – it only takes a couple of minutes per day in the sun without sunscreen during the spring/summer months.
  • Vitamin D is also available in a number of food sources, including milk, fortified dairy products, fortified soy/rice beverages, fatty fish.
  • The Canadian Cancer Society recommends taking vitamin D supplementation of 1,000 international units (IU) a day during the fall and winter, or all year round if you are over 50 years old, have dark skin, or wear protective clothing or sunscreen when outside.

Hint: Look for fortified foods with Vitamin D3 (aka Cholecalciferol), such as dairy foods. Some
foods (e.g. soy beverages) are fortified with D2, but this is not as well used in your body.

Dealing with menopause

The dreaded ‘M’ word! Fear not…maintaining a healthy diet may play a role in easing the discomforts that may come with the menopause years.

  • Focus on a diet that is high in fibre and rich in vegetables and fruits.
  • Asian women have long been studied for how they seem to avoid menopausal symptoms. Traditionally, their diets are low in fat and high in fish, soy, and dark leafy green vegetables including seaweed.
  • Avoid large amounts of foods or beverages that may lead to hot flashes, including alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee, pop), refined sugars and spicy foods.

Salmon with fresh fruit salsa

Looking to boost your intake of vitamin D (found in fatty fish) and fruits? Look no further than this yummy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large salmon fillet, about 12 oz/375 g
  • Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In bowl, stir together mango, tomato, olive oil and garlic. Add pepper to taste. Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared baking sheet. Pour fruit mixture over salmon, ensuring top of fillet is covered.
  3. Bake in centre of oven for 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when prodded with a fork.

TIP: You can substitute apricots, peaches or nectarines for the mango. Use about 1 cup (250 mL) diced.

Primacy Dietitians is a panel of dietitians who are all members of the Dietitians of Canada.