You probably know that a Mediterranean diet is good for you, but you might be less sure about the specific food choices involved. A recent study has now identified the top 3 things you can do to eat healthy and dramatically reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Increasing your intake of fish and fruit, and drinking less soda, each lower your risk of precancerous colorectal lesions by more than 30%, according to researchers from Tel Aviv Medical Center. When you put all 3 habits together, you lower your odds by a total of almost 86%.
In addition to fish and fruit, a Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil, while limiting meat, cheese, sweets, and alcohol.
The benefits can include keeping your heart and brain healthy, managing your weight, and living longer. Put a Mediterranean diet to work for you, starting with these top 3 priorities.
Eat More Fish
Whatever you’ve read about mercury and other safety issues, keep in mind that most experts believe that the advantages of eating fish outweigh any risks. Aim for at least 2 servings of fish a week.
Consider these tips:
- Avoid excess mercury. While mercury is not a significant risk for most adults, it still makes sense to watch intake levels, especially for pregnant women and small children. Canned light tuna and small fish like tilapia are low-mercury choices.
- Check for freshness. Buy fish from a store you trust. Look for shiny, firm flesh, and the absence of any odors.
- Keep it light. The way you prepare fish has a big impact on the amount of calories and fat it will contain. Bake it or grill it instead of frying. Season it with miso and herbs rather than butter.
- Find alternatives. If you dislike the taste of fish, there are other sources for omega 3s. Try nuts and seeds, soybean products, dark leafy greens, and flaxseed or canola oil.
Eat More Fruit
Experts recommend at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. They’re usually rich in nutrients, and low in calories.
These tips will help you get more fruit benefits:
- Focus on whole fruit. Compared to juice, whole fruit is much higher in fiber and lower in calories. For even more fiber, leave the peels on.
- Try new things. Eating a wide variety of fruit will provide different nutrients and please your taste buds. Experiment with creative ways to serve it like smoothies, sauces, and baked goods.
- Start early. It’s easier to eat more servings if you spread them out. Include fruit in each meal.
- Snack wisely. Replace cookies and chips with apples and oranges. Satisfy your sweet tooth with kiwis and berries.
Drink Less Soda
Soda consumption has fallen to a 30 year low in the US. The available options for replacing sweetened fizzy drinks increases as beverage manufacturers try to find new products to replace the lost income.
Follow these strategies to cut down on soda:
- Read labels. Check on the ingredients to see if a bottled beverage lives up to its health claims. Does it contain artificial sweeteners or excess sugar?
- Consume more water. Plain water is still the beverage of choice. Drink it with meals and in between.
- Add flavor. If you find water boring, make it more appealing. Garnish it with fruit and herbs. Sample lemons and limes or basil and mint.
- Cut back on caffeine. Moderate amounts of caffeine may be good for you, but too much triggers cravings that make a cola habit more difficult to break. Drink herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverages.
Reap the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. Eat more fish and fruit, and drink water instead of soda.