10 Lifestyle Tips for Cancer Prevention
According to the World Health Organization, one-third of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. This means that nearly one-third of the most common cancers in the U.S. are preventable.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) provides reliable, evidence-based recommendations to lower cancer risk through lifestyle changes (nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle decisions). The AICR carries out regular, systematic analyses of thousands of studies published around the world to develop their guidelines.
Last month, the AICR and the World Cancer Research Fund published their third Expert Report; the “Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer: A Global Perspective”. This report is part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP) to collect the latest information regarding the links between diet, weight, physical activity, cancer prevention and survival.
The AICR suggests 10 lifestyle behaviors to reduce your risk of developing cancer:
- Keep your weight within the healthy range and avoid weight gain in adult life.
- Be physically active as part of everyday life. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week, if tolerated.
- Choose a plant-based diet (Make whole grains, vegetables, fruits and pulses (legumes) such as beans and lentils a major part of your usual daily diet). Aim to fill at least 2/3 of your plate with plant foods.
- Limit your consumption of fast foods high in fats, starches and sugar.
- Eat only 12-18 ounces of cooked red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) a week and avoid processed meats.
- Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.
- If you drink, limit consumption to one drink for women and two for men per day. Alcohol may have a protective effect against coronary heart disease, but it is a potent carcinogen linked to increased risk of developing 6 different cancers.
- Do not use supplements for cancer prevention. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone. Some supplements may actually increase the risk of certain cancers.
- Breastfeed your baby, if you can.
- After a cancer diagnosis, follow these recommendations again. Ask your health professional what recommendations are right for you.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Karen Alexander, BNSD, MSCN