“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” – Hippocrates
February is National Cancer Prevention Month and Provision CARES Proton Therapy is dedicated to providing educational awareness on cancer prevention and early detection. Along with regular screenings and physician check-ups, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the main ways to reduce your risk of cancer. There is no single food or food substance that can fully prevent or cure cancer. However, there are a number of lifestyle adjustments you can do on your own to reduce the risk of cancer. A number of foods are rich in nutrients and provide long-term benefits to the body. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight, a balanced plant-based diet, and movement on a regular basis is proven to reduce your risk for some cancers.
9 tips to a cancer prevention diet:
- Start with Lean Proteins. Build each meal around a lean source of protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, or tofu. Try to limit processed meats such as, hotdogs, ham, and sausages. Most dieticians suggest 25-30 grams lean protein at each meal.
- Add Some Color to Your Plate. Fill half of your plate with colorful non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, and onions. Non-starchy vegetables are rich in fiber and provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are necessary to help the body grow and develop; heal or repair itself; perform essential functions; and protect the body.
- Cut Back on Carbs. Limit starchy carbohydrates such as legumes, lentils, breads, grains, cereals, pasta, and fruit to a forth of your plate. All carbohydrates are converted to sugar in your body. The conversion of sugar causes a spike in blood sugar and an increase in the storage hormone insulin. Insulin prevents your body from burning fat, making weight loss very difficult.
- Choose Whole Grains. “Whole grains” are minimally processed fiber rich foods such as brown rice, oatmeal, corn, and whole-wheat bread. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, “There are several ways fiber may lower risk, including diluting potential carcinogens and promoting healthful bacteria growth. Whole grains may also help with weight control; excess body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers.”
- Hydrate-Hydrate-Hydrate! Adequate fluid is important for a variety of reasons. Staying hydrated helps to transport nutrients through your body and keep you healthy. Aim for a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily. If you don’t like to drink water, try adding flavor such as fresh squeeze lemon or lime.
- Incorporate Healthy Fats. Healthy fats are nuts, seeds, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), avocado, or omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in foods such as salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, sardines, herring, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
- Avoid Added Sugar. If sugar or a form of sugar (sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose) is in the first 5 ingredients of a food item, put it back. Added sugar has little to none nutritional value. Too much sugar prevents your body from burning fat.
- Pass on Happy Hour. Limit your alcohol intake to 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. Not only can alcohol alter emotions or cause physical impairments when consumed, most alcoholic beverages are full of sugar- preventing weight loss. Also, research shows that alcoholic drinks may increase your risk of some cancers especially when paired with smoking.
- Move Your Body. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week or a combination of the two. No matter what your physical activity level, start small and begin by moving your body above your usual level of activity. Try taking the stairs versus the elevator or walk a lap around your office or house every hour. Many fitness instructors will advise clients to aim for 10,000 steps per day.
If you would like more information about National Cancer Prevention Month and making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of cancer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To help you stay on track, classes and nutritional consultations are available at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.
Content provided by Casey Coffey MS,RD,LDN