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Feb 6, 2014

Healthy Living looks at the value between a carrot stick and a French fry

February fourth was the celebration of World Cancer Day. The theme was Debunking Myths and Building Awareness. Tonight in Healthy Living, we look at foods with cancer agents and foods that reduce your risk of cancer. Our specialist tonight will make you rethink the value between a carrot stick and a French fry.


Evelyn Roldan, Nutritionist, ICAP/PAHO

“The thing with these diseases is that they don’t give you any warning. People say I’m fine I’ve been fine all my life, I just got cholesterol tested and I’m fine, but when it shows up that’s it. There’s no way of going back. When you’re diagnosed with diabetes that is it. it may not happen last year, but it happened now and there is no going back. When you are diagnosed with cancer, there is treatment, but you got it already. When you got hypertension that is it; you have it and there is no going back. It gives you no warning.”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease; cancer is known to be linked to diet and lifestyle.


Evelyn Roldan

Evelyn Roldan

“We are what we eat and what we put in our bodies and the amount of eating things that are harmful, known as free radicals then your body has to make an extra effort to fight those and that’s when you have all the energies focusing on that and not defending all the other factors.”


The US National Cancer Institute defines Free radicals as highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells. It further explains that the damage to cells caused by free radicals, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions.


Evelyn Roldan

“The latest research is focused on the newest trend called micro nutrition; which focuses on the PH balance of the food you are eating. We have been eating more of an acid diet and it should be more of basic diet. It should be eighty percent basic food and twenty percent acid food. Some example of basic foods are fruits, vegetables, some legumes and grains. So the trend is a semi vegetarian kind of diet. The other twenty percent can be an acid kind of diet. That’s where you have meat, oil and processed food.”


Acid diets increase risk of cancer and other diseases& diabetes hypertension, but it also makes you age faster. There is no need to skip meat entirely, Roldan says, she finds Belizeans do not consume very large portions of protein. The concern, however, is how it is prepared.


Evelyn Roldan

“The preparation; it’s with a lot of gravy, with a lot of fat on it. So maybe you can try to change the cooking method. Oil is a really tricky substance to use. When you overheat it gets decomposed. So we have to be careful with that. It releases a substance called Acrylamide, and it is a cancer agent. So you have to be careful with the reusing of oil. It’s even worse if you mix it with starch, then it creates another substance called Acrolein. The most common example would be the French fries; it is high oil temperature and the mixing with starch it releases the substance and it’s also a cancer agent.”


The recommendation: Use frying oil only once; and, if you must reuse, use no more than twice. You could also move to baking and grilling foods. Another important adjustment is to increase antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants are believed to minimize the damage to your cells from free radicals.


Evelyn Roldan

“Sweet potatoes, carrots, foods that are high in beta-carotene, vitamin A is a really good antioxidant that can help fight free radicals. So that could be helpful. Also anything that is high in vitamin C like grapefruit and all the other citrus is also helpful. Everything that is high in vitamin E—all of the nuts like peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds, almond milk—all of that is good for you—also berries, we don’t find that much here in Belize, but those are also good. Pomegranates are also good because they have phytonutrients that will help fight these free radicals. We have omega-three you can find in grouper and fish and so you can increase those. One of the main types of cancers we have here in Belize is the digestive, whether it is stomach, colon cancer; it’s increasing and that’s related to diet. We need to eat as well more fiber which is also found in fruit and vegetables.”


Of course, the recommendation will always remain for healthier eating, adequate exercise, and cutting back on smoking and drinking habits.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living looks at the value between a carrot stick and a French fry”

  1. Kevin Mendez says:

    Very great article on the benefits of fruits and vegetables and healthy living.

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