More than one third of adults (38.4%) will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. Children are at risk for developing cancer, too. Maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and consuming healthy foods and moderate amounts of alcohol can prevent nearly half of all cancer diagnoses. As we celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month, now is a perfect time to make positive changes to reduce your risk of cancer. But do you know what actions to take?
The American Institute for Cancer Research’s campaign, Cancer Prevention: Together We Can, includes 10 cancer prevention recommendations.
- Be a healthy weight. Next to not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing that reduces your risk of cancer.
- Be physically active. Walk more and sit less! Aim for 150 minutes weekly of moderate activity and walk a few minutes every hour.
- Eat a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Aim to fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
- Limit “fast foods” and processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars. Consuming “fast-foods” and a “Western-type” diet causes weight gain and obesity; both linked to 12 different cancers.
- Limiting red and processed meats to 12 to 18 cooked ounces per week decreases risk of colorectal cancer.
- Limit sugar-sweetened drinks. Excessive amounts of sugary drinks causes weight gain and obesity, and increases cancer risk. Drink more water!
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol in any form is a linked to six different cancers. If you choose to drink, limit 1 drink for women and 2 for men per day.
- Don’t use supplements for cancer prevention. Most people can get the nutrients they need to reduce their risk of cancer by consuming a healthy diet.
- Breastfeed your baby, if you can. For mothers, breastfeeding lowers cancer-related hormone levels in the body and babies are less likely to become overweight and obese, a risk for some cancers.
- After a cancer diagnosis, follow all these recommendations as much as possible.
Ready to take action? Get AICR’s 30-Day Cancer Prevention Checklist for eating smarter and being more active and recipes for cancer prevention. Then kick start your diet with a Winter Berry Smoothie Bowl recipe, one of my favorite snacks all year long.