According to the American Cancer Society, February is Cancer Prevention month. Cancer is one of the most common diseases that affects millions of people every day. Some of the most common cancers include lung, skin, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. While cancer isn’t always preventable, there are things you can do to reduce your risk for it. This includes living a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet to name a few. Smoking is also one of the major risk factors for cancer, especially lung cancer.
How to reduce your risk for cancer
· Maintain a healthy diet. Eat a diet that consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
· Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you are overweight or obese. A health or normal weight is a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
· Stay physically active. This means getting exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
· Limit alcohol consumption. Either drink alcohol in moderation, or avoid it completely. If you choose to drink alcohol, try not to drink more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
· Avoid or quit smoking.
Best foods to eat to reduce your risk for cancer
Avoid red meat. Processed and even unprocessed red meat is apparently no good for us. Red meat has been linked to various cancers including colorectal, prostate, kidney and pancreatic cancer. This includes beef, bacon, sausage, ham, etc.
Eat fruits and vegetables every day. Eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies such as broccoli and berries. Dark-green leafy vegetables are especially helpful in fighting cancer.
Add turmeric to your food. Turmeric is an Indian spice. It is also a polyphenol that has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Include more fiber. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Did you know that every 10 grams of daily fiber intake reduces the risk of colon cancer by 10 percent? Aim for 25 grams of fiber daily.
Limit or avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a risk factor for oral cancers. This includes esophageal, liver, colon, breast, and possibly pancreatic cancer. It is recommended that women drink no more than one drink daily and men drink no more than two drinks daily.
Eat more fish. Fish that are low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon reduce inflammation, which is linked to cancer.
Eat organic. The development of at least nine different cancers is associated with exposure to certain pesticides. Buy organic.
Drink green tea. Green tea contains catechins which are also known as antioxidants. Antioxidants are great source or protection for our cells from DNA damage. They also strengthen our immune system and activate enzymes that fight off tumors.
Avoid foods with trans fats. Trans fat is often found in fried foods and sweets. Trans fat increases your risk for cancers including breast and prostate cancer.
Get enough vitamin D. More vitamin D in the blood is associated with lower rates of various cancers including colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, and prostate. Ask your doctor about a supplement, and whether you should eat more vitamin D rich foods, or get more sun.