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What Should You Eat?

July 09, 2021

In elementary school, you may have learned about the “five food groups,” the “food pyramid” or how to divide up your plate. There are many choices and recommendations out there—both historical and new—and it can be overwhelming.

The best approach is one that is simple, sustainable, and science-based. Imagine the eating wheel below as a dart board. If you were to throw a dart, it would most likely land on…..vegetables. Brightly colored vegetables should form the core of your diet.

PCF Food Wheel

Why vegetables? All those bright colors come from natural compounds which help lower your risk of cancer at a cellular level. Another benefit of vegetables is their high fiber content. Fiber feeds the “good” bacteria naturally living in your gut. Eating a healthy mix of different plant-based foods can help foster the correct diversity of disease-fighting gut bacteria. For bacteria, food variety is the spice of life!

The foods around the rim of the wheel—from whole grains to fish—also contain important nutrients. Your body breaks down protein and carbohydrates to supply you with energy and the building blocks your cells need for growth and repair. Enjoy a small serving of whole grains (like brown rice) at each meal, and favor high-quality, plant-based proteins (like beans and soy). For most people, it’s ok to pepper in some animal proteins, as long as they aren’t the featured item on your plate.

The bull’s eye represents healthy fats. If you’re adding fat to your diet, focus on “good fats,” including avocado and olive oil.

Healthy eating takes a bit of planning and preparation, which is why we’ve got tips and suggestions coming up soon to help. And if time is tight some days, don’t stress: a salad or side of roasted veggies when you’re eating out counts, too.

For more information, download our guide, The Science of Living Well, Beyond Cancer.