Prevent Cancer by Eating Right

Contributors: Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
prevent cancer by eating right


Did you know you can reduce your risk of cancer? More than 1.5 million people in the United States get cancer each year, and research shows that many of these cases could be prevented.

While cancer prevention is still being researched, we do know your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make. In fact, new research shows as many as one-third of all cancer deaths are linked to diet and physical activity. Besides quitting smoking and protecting your skin from damaging UV rays, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are eating right and being physically active on a regular basis throughout life.

Here are some general guidelines to help reduce your cancer risk through eating right.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables including beans, which are linked with a lower risk of certain cancers. Fill half your plate each meal with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat fewer foods that are extremely processed and low in nutrients. Filling up on foods with added sugars and fats leave little room for nutrient-dense, cancer-preventive foods. You can still enjoy the foods you love, but your diet should consist mostly of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and lean protein foods.
  • Focus on plant proteins. Beans and lentils are nutritious and affordable sources of protein and dietary fiber. Research links high intakes of red, processed and charred meat with increased cancer risk, so eat these sparingly.
  • Limit alcohol. Evidence suggests all types of alcoholic drinks may increase your risk of breast, colorectal and other forms of cancer. If you drink at all, limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.

For more tips on reducing your risk or managing diseases through nutrition, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.

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