There are seven keys to a healthier diet:
- Remove White Food From Your Diet.White food tends to be processed food, low in nutrients and high in sugar. White bread is probably the easiest item to immediately identify and eliminate. But don’t take all bread from your diet – grains can be an important source of fiber, selenium and vitamins B and E. Try different wheat breads to see which you like best.
- Select Vegetables and Fruits with Vivid ColorsThe more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the nutritional content is. Choose dark leafy greens, peas, edamame or spinach for vitamins B and C, iron, protein and fiber. Don’t shy away from canned vegetables, especially if they make your life easier right now. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a healthy alternative. Try the “3-colors-a-day” trick as an easy way of ensuring fruits and vegetables make it to your menu. For example, blueberries (1) with breakfast, dark leafy lettuce (2) on your sandwich at lunch, red peppers (3) with chicken at dinner. How many colors did you eat today?
- Become Aware of Phytochemicals“Phyto” means plant. Phytochemicals are nutrients derived from plants, and they are healthy buzzwords in nutrition and cancer research. Phytochemicals appear to stimulate the immune system, exhibit antibacterial and antiviral activity, and, in general, help your body fight cancer. Some foods these are found in are onions, garlic, leeks, chives, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, tea, coffee, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower), berries, beans and whole grains.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, HydrateNutritionists aren’t kidding when they tell us our bodies need at least 8 glasses of fluid a day. During chemotherapy, additional fluids are needed to replace fluid lost through treatment side effects. The weight gain and puffiness caused by steroids might tempt you to skimp on your water. Don’t – avoiding water now will only worsen the side effects.
- Eat Healthy FatHealthy fat, like Omega-3, may increase the activity of the immune system’s natural killer cells. Flaxseed is the richest plant source of these healthy Omega-3 fats. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed or flaxmeal a day into your morning breakfast cereal, or use ground flaxmeal in a smoothie. Oily fish, such as lake trout, herring and sardines, as well as canola and walnut oil are all excellent sources of Omega-3 fats.
- Follow the 80/20 RuleThis is a tip with a built-in reward. No one can eat healthy all the time; sometimes you’ll have a hard time sticking the plan, or may not feel well. If you can make healthy selections 80% of the time, you can allow yourself to make less healthy choices 20% of the time. Knowing you have some wiggle room allows you to make healthier choices long term and not feel constricted or deprived.