by Tracey Shaffer, RDN, LD
February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Did you know that you can reduce your risk of cancer by following a healthy lifestyle?
Research shows at least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition.
The American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Reducing the Risk of Cancer with Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity emphasizes healthy diet and exercise.
The four components of cancer prevention, as reported by the American Cancer Society, are:
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life. Keep your weight within the healthy range, and avoid weight gain in adult life.
Be physically active. Adults should get 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these). Getting to or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal. Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages. Eat foods that are high in nutrients in amounts that help you get to and stay at a healthy body weight. Eat a variety of vegetables – dark green, red and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and others.
Choose fruits, especially whole fruits in a variety of colors. Make your grains whole grains. Limit red meat and processed meats. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods and refined grain products.
It is best not to drink alcohol. People who do choose to drink alcohol should have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.
Source: American Cancer Society
NOTE: Researchers agree that there isn’t one single element in one particular food that can protect you from cancer. Eating a variety of foods is your best defense against disease. For more information on how the above foods may help protect you against cancer, contact a registered dietitian.
Try this quick-cooking Skillet Tilapia with Sautéed Spinach bursting with flavor and healthy goodness, including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, folic acid, and other healthy vitamins and minerals. Serve with brown rice for a complete meal.