Plant-based diet cuts the risk of many cancers

“Helping the cancer fight” (“Today’s Editorial,” July 23), urged readers to fight cancer by donating to cancer treatment and research. Obviously minimizing the risk of cancer is in everyone’s best interest. Luckily, Maui is home to an abundance of cancer-preventing foods.

The leading cause of premature death and disability in America is our diet overemphasizing meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods, states a 2013 article in the Journal of American Medical Association. The double whammy is that this diet leaves little room for foods that lower cancer risk: vegetables and fruits. Kale, chard, collard greens, broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes and bell peppers and other vegetables grow year-round here. They’re rich in beta-carotene, carotenoids and other anti-cancer antioxidants. Anyone can dramatically lower their cancer risk by making these centerpieces of their diet, not side dishes.

Fruits are powerful cancer fighters. The worst aspect of the American diet, says one analysis of risk factors for death and disease, is not enough fruit. On Maui, fruits grow year-round. Berries are the champs among all foods at fighting cancer. Upcountry strawberries are not only taste treats, they can save your life, like all berries.

The American Institute for Cancer Research, a leading authority on cancer and diet, has 10 recommendations for cancer prevention. Their dietary message: diets emphasizing whole plant foods cut the risk of many cancers. Anyone interested in minimizing their cancer risk can start by eating more vegetables and fruits, and less animal and processed foods. Prevention of cancer is the best cure.

Jerome Kellner