According to the CDC, 1.6 million people in the US are diagnosed with cancer each year. Close to 600,000 die from cancer yearly. Many of us know at least one person who has been diagnosed with cancer, or we may have been diagnosed ourselves. We also know that cancer has been around for thousands of years, and that there is no known way to 100% prevent it. However, the World Health Organization states that between 30% and 50% of cancers are preventable. So, how can you cut down your risk of developing cancer?
Eliminating certain risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to environmental pollution can help. Increasing your physical activity, keeping your weight in check, and modifying your diet are also ways to cut down your risk of developing cancer.
Check out these nutrition tips to help cut down your risk of developing cancer and live your healthiest life.
You may have heard that eating fruits and vegetables can cut down your risk of developing certain cancers. Fruits and vegetables contain compounds that may have anticancer properties. They also contain fiber, known to protect against colon cancer. Fruits and vegetables fill us up on the fewest number of calories, helping us achieve a healthy body weight. This is key, as carrying extra body fat could increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Don’t underestimate the power of maintaining a healthy body weight!
Go for deeply hued fruits and vegetables for the most nutrients. Don’t forget to include dark green leafy vegetables for all their concentrated nutrients, too.
For help with maintaining and losing weight, consider the Shapa scale. This unique system gives you feedback about your weight, but not in pounds. You can read more about how Shapa works here.
Cut Down on Processed Meats
Yeah, I know, who doesn’t love sizzling bacon with their eggs? Or a meaty salami sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and the works? Unfortunately, regularly eating processed meats (cured, salted, smoked, or preserved meats) increases your risk of colorectal and stomach cancers. Does that mean you should never eat things like ham, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, and sausages? No, but if these are a regular part of your diet, cutting back can help lower your risk of developing cancer.
If you’re wondering about deli meats labeled “organic,” “natural,” “uncured,” and “nitrate/nitrite free,” these still contain naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites, and pose as much of a danger. I eat oven roasted deli turkey when I’m in a pinch, but I don’t rely on it for daily protein. For my favorite protein ideas, check out this post!
Certain cancers, like those of the breast, liver, throat, mouth, and larynx are associated with alcohol consumption. To cut down your risk of developing these cancers, men should consume no more than 2 alcoholic beverages per day, and women no more than 1. A serving of alcohol is 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, and 1.5 oz of distilled spirits. Try swapping an alcoholic drink out for flavored seltzer or fruit-infused water (La Croix, Bubly, or Spindrift are my favorites).
And Don’t Forget, Cooking Methods May Matter
Cooking any sort of meat using high temperature methods such as pan frying or grilling produces chemicals: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). HCAs and PAHs are also in smoked meats. These chemicals cause changes in DNA, found to increase the risk of cancers in lab animals. Although the link to human risk has been inconclusive, taking precautions to reduce the risk of developing cancer can’t hurt. Remove charred sections of meat, continuously flip meat while cooking, and avoid direct exposure of meat to open flames or hot metal surfaces. Try slow-cooking, braising, or sous-vide instead!
Adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet, cutting down on processed meats, limiting alcohol intake, and being conscious of how you cook your meats can all help cut down your risk of developing cancer, and help you live your healthiest life.
Looking to sleep better, eat a bit healthier, build a practice of self-care, or just want to feel more energetic each day? Let Shapa be your virtual coach. Shapa focuses your program based on YOUR lifestyle and YOUR goals so you can build healthy habits and achieve lasting results. Learn more about the Shapa difference.
About the author:
Sharone completed her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Education at Columbia University. Having overcome her own not-so-great relationship with food, she is passionate about helping others achieve their health and weight loss goals while finding balance. She enjoys hanging out with her two daughters, husband, giant dog, and cat, especially all together when shenanigans are involved. To learn more about scheduling a nutrition counseling session with Sharone, click here. For more tips and tricks for nutritious living, check out Sharone’s Instagram and Twitter.
Check out more of Sharone’s articles on the Shapa Blog here.