February 15, 2017
February is National Cancer Prevention Month, which is the perfect time to take a step back and reevaluate all those healthy New Year’s resolutions. Take a look at these healthy tips from the Maryland Proton Treatment Center Clinical Nutritionist, Emily Rice, RD, CNSC, LDN.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancers in the US are preventable with lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, staying active, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight may help prevent cancer and if you have been diagnosed with cancer, it can help support you during treatment and enhance your quality of life. There is ongoing research into foods and nutrition for cancer prevention, but what we do know is that eating a well-balanced plant-based diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans may lower the risk for many cancers.
1. Eat more plant-based foods
Plant-based foods are nutrient-dense and contain phytochemicals to help protect the body. Fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. To get a variety of different produce, try a new fruit or vegetable each week and aim for at least 3 different colors daily. Also include whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. These are all excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.
2. Flavor your foods
In place of added fat and sugar which can pack on the pounds, season your foods with herbs and spices. Many seasonings such as oregano, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, among many, have been studied for their phytochemical properties.
3. Limit processed foods
Choosing fewer processed foods will help reduce your intake of added fat and sugar which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Read the food labels; avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats. Choose foods with shorter ingredient lists.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Overweight and obesity is linked to a higher rate of certain cancers. If you want to know if you should lose, gain or maintain your current weight, see your doctor for advice. If you are having difficulty reaching a healthy weight, consider seeking out a registered dietitian (RD) for help. To find an RD near you, please visit http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert
5. Choose the right proteins
Limit processed meats (those that have been salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or other methods to preserve the meat) and charred meats which may contain cancer causing compounds. Enjoy red meat in moderation and choose lean poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans for protein.
6. Limit alcohol
Limit your alcohol consumption. Evidence suggests alcohol increases your risk for a variety of cancers. Limit intake to no more than 2 drinks daily for men and 1 drink daily for women.
7. Stay active
Higher levels of physical activity are linked to lower rates of certain cancers. Exercise can also help you to maintain a healthy body weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking, at least 5 days a week. If you have any medical conditions ask your doctor before restarting an exercise routine.