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Life Style and Cancer Risk
Even though cancer is the leading cause of death in the US, the good news is that lifestyle can really reduce this risk. While genetics and environmental factors also play a role, lifestyle, including what we eat, may be linked to one-third of all cancers. Cancer research is ongoing with new insights every day. Science suggests that it is a combination of factors, not just a single one, that will offer the strongest cancer protection.
Foods that Fight Cancer
- Foods can fight cancer directly and indirectly. Many individual vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients have demonstrated direct anti-cancer effects. Evidence shows that these compounds work together in the overall diet to provide the best protection.
- Food can indirectly affect cancer risk when we eat too much, resulting in excess body fat. Being overweight increases the risks of several types of cancer.
Cancer-Protective Foods Include
*apples *berries *cranberries *garlic *tomatoes *dark green leafy vegetables *broccoli *winter squash *legumes *whole grains *flaxseed *green tea
Diet & Lifestyle Factors to Consider
Factors we can control that will reduce cancer risk and guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) are:
- Aim for a Healthy Weight
- Be Physically Active–Include 30 minutes of activity daily.
- Limit Alcoholic Beverages
- If consumed at all, moderate to 2 for men and 1 for women daily
- Do Not Smoke
- Focus on Cancer Protective Foods:
- A variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains & legumes.
- Aim for 5 or more servings of vegetables & fruits and at least 3 servings of whole grains daily.
- Limit Foods that Increase Cancer Risk:
- Red meat, processed & cured meats, salty foods & foods processed with salt
The Bottom Line:
The AICR recommends making meals cancer-protective by:
- eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods, especially those that are cancer protective; minimizing foods that increase cancer risk;
and replacing large portions of calorie-dense foods with nutrient rich lower-calorie options.
Opt for foods rather than supplements. Check the AICR web site: www.aicr.org or contact them at 1.800.843.8114 for additional information.
You can also ask the Regional Nutritionist at your Dining Center.
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