You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘Eat the rainbow’. This nutrition rule of thumb means it’s wise to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, ideally that vary in colour, to get a range of important nutrients, as Dr Renee Stubbins, PhD, an oncology dietitian explains.
“Having a variety of fruit and vegetables on hand provides your body with a broad range of antioxidant protection.” Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from damage and have been shown to protect the body from cancer, and “that variety helps protect our bodies from disease,” Dr Stubbins says.
Filling your belly with more plants can also be a solid way to trim down, as 2022 CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) data points out that people who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for these 13 types of cancers:
- Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
- Breast cancer (in post-menopausal women, the CDC specifies)
- Colon and rectal cancers
- Uterine cancer
- Upper stomach
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Meningioma (a type of brain cancer)
- Multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting the blood, bones, immune system, and more.
Eating the rainbow is a worthy goal…but if it feels like carving out the space in your week to meal-plan is a task in itself, Dr Stubbins has created a shortcut by opening her fridge for Reader’s Digest to reveal what she herself stocks up on to stay well.
No surprise they’re first on the list, berries are famously high in antioxidants. Blueberries often get all the cancer-fighting praise, but almost any berry you eat packs a powerfully nutritious punch.
An easy way to keep them in reach? “Typically, I always have frozen berries for smoothies and yoghurt bowls,” Dr Stubbins says.
A popular fruit, and not just because they’re so easy to grab. In one 2021 study in the peer-reviewed Frontiers in Oncology, the anticancer properties in bananas showed promise for creating cancer prevention drugs.
Dr Stubbins says she loves to keep bananas on hand for smoothies.