It’s been three years since The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO), classified processed red meat as carcinogenic to humans. It caused a ripple effect, resulting in more and more people to rethink their meat consumption.
But time has indeed moved on, and it’s been three years, and one could argue that this topic has perhaps lost its novelty and spark. We believe however this is a discussion that needs to be brought to the (plant-based dinner) table once again. Why? Well, it is officially Movember and in South Africa, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men across all population groups according to this study by the South African Journal of Surgery.
While men grow their ‘tashes during the month of November in the name of fighting against cancer, we thought it was a dandy time to speak out about how eating more veggies can lower one’s risk of cancer and lead to a sustainable, healthier life!
Men, your risk of prostate cancer can be reduced with the same diet that helps to prevent most cancers: a diet that’s high in fibre, veggies, fruit and beans and low in saturated fat. It’s time to switch from flipping that piece of meat on the braai to a plant-based alternative. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got some tips, advice and recipes for you and to share with friends and family.
A plant-based diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables mean more vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Consuming more than five servings of vegetables and fruits a day has actually been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Throw in a zucchini or some kale in your smoothie or add some sprouts and microgreens to your wrap.
Research shows a link between consuming fibre-rich whole grains as part of a low-fat diet and a reduced risk of cancer. The benefits of whole grains extend beyond their fibre content. They are packed with healthy nutrients, and the synergistic effect of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, phytoestrogens and antioxidants all together protect us from chronic diseases and cancer. Types of whole grains to include are: Whole-wheat seeded bread, oats, brown rice, rye bread, barley buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, and legumes including baked beans, kidney beans, other dried beans (home cooked or canned), lentils, split peas and chickpeas.
Saturated fats like those found in animal products, dairy and processed foods increase men’s’ risk of cancer. Replace them instead with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like avocado, olives, seeds and nuts. Fatty acids like omega 3 (which includes: chia seeds, flaxseeds, soy products, walnuts, hemp seeds as well as leafy greens) are also something you should add to your diet – they act as a natural anti-inflammatory, and chronic inflammation is linked to medical conditions like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Include tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, all containing lycopene, along with soy foods, cruciferous veggies like kale, cabbage and broccoli, followed by green tea. These foods help fight cancer risk so consume them regularly, and let food by thy medicine.
So, making changes by reducing your intake of saturated fats can lower your risk of cancer. Chop it from your diet, and increase plant-based alternatives instead, and you’ll be doing a lot to safeguard your heart. As an example, a 150g lamb chop contains 21.3g of Total Fat, while a Fry’s plant-based meat alternative like our Traditional Burger Patty of the same size contains 6.6g of Total Fat. Plus, the patty comes with a bonus 0.9g of fibre to bolster digestive health and support healthy blood cholesterol levels.
November also happens to be World Vegan Month, so if you’re not yet convinced, why not see these next 30 days as a fun challenge at trying to eat plant-based? See how you feel at the end of the month and take it from there! #challengeaccepted
#Movember is more than growing a ‘tash – it’s about getting more colour, texture and variety on the plate For recipes to inspire you, your man and friends around, check out the diverse range of free plant-based cookbooks, including recipes for the braai master, athlete, health nut and parent here: https://www.fryfamilyfood.com/za/our-vegetarian-and-vegan-cookbooks/