The Chinese Secret (cont.)
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans should make up two-thirds or more of the meal -- like they have in rural China for centuries. Animal foods should make up no more than one-third.
But before you pat yourself on the back for eating your broccoli, take heed. Variety is key. "Each fruit, vegetable, or grain has its own profile of cancer-protective substances that tend to work as a team," says Melanie Polk, RD, an AICR spokeswoman. In short, when it comes to disease-proofing your diet, eat more plant foods like the Chinese do. For the best health insurance, expand your repertoire to include vitamin-packed Chinese favorites, such as bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, spinach, and eggplant.
As you can see, with a few diet modifications, "the Chinese way" is easily available for importing. All it takes is an adventurous palate, some inventiveness in the kitchen, and the desire to stay healthy for the long haul. "The closer you get to a plant-based diet," says Campbell, "the better off you'll be."
Sandra Gordon, a health/nutrition writer in Weston, Conn., is the co-author of The 30 Secrets of the World's Healthiest Cuisines.
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