When it comes to cancer prevention, proper nutrition is key. Recent research is showing that many types of cancer, a lifestyle disease, can be reduced through diet. According to the American Institute For Cancer Research, nearly 50% of the most common cancers found among the population in the United States can be prevented. These cancer related deaths are linked to lifestyle factors, which includes excess weight, poor diet and lack of exercise.
This statistic lends itself to the idea that many common cancers found in the U.S. population can be prevented. One way to do this is not only through proper weight management and sufficient exercise, but also through proper diet.
Prevention is the best form of action, however, eating a healthful and proper diet during and after cancer treatment can also work to improve your health. Here are some basic food and nutrition tips for cancer prevention.
Cancer Prevention Food and Nutrition Tips
Increase nutrient dense foods
Having the proper building blocks for your cells to pull needed vitamins, minerals and nutrients from is important as your body works to prevent disease and/or repair itself. Increasing nutrient dense foods (foods that are high in nutrients compared to calories) is a good start. Research is still ongoing to determine exactly what things in foods are pertinent to cancer prevention.
Decrease intake of empty calorie foods
Excess weight has been shown to be a factor in increasing the risk of certain types of cancers. For this reason, it is important to decrease your intake of empty calorie foods, or those that contain a lot of calories but do not offer much nutrition. These include things like soda, dessert and processed foods or foods that contain added sugars or fats.
Opt for whole foods
Whole food, or food that we consume exactly as it is found in nature, is a good staple for a cancer prevention diet. Whole foods are likely to contain the good things our bodies need (important vitamins, minerals and nutrients). At the same time, it is likely that they do not contain the things that are bad for us (like added sugars and fats). Opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Limit processed meats
Depending on the type of cancer, you may need to limit red meat and processed meats. These types of foods have been shown in some research to be linked to certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. Processed meats to avoid include: ham, bacon and hot dogs. It is also suggested to avoid eating large amounts of red meat.
Choose plant protein sources
Decreasing the amount of animal protein consumed and increasing the amount of plant protein consumed, lowers your risk of many types of cancer. Opt for protein sources that come from plants to lower your cancer risk. Good sources include: beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh.
Eliminate alcohol and smoking
Lastly, eliminating alcohol and smoking if you have not already, is an important step in cancer prevention. Research suggests alcohol is linked to an increased cancer risk, as is smoking.
Now that you know more about cancer prevention through food and nutrition, you may benefit from the guidance offered by the registered dietitian nutritionists at The Nutrition Professionals. A RDN can help tailor a meal plan to your specific nutritional needs and lifestyle considerations.
To find out more, contact us today.