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Four Great Ways to Eat Healthier, Prevent Cancer

We all have heard before. “You are what you eat.” Research has shown that certain foods may increase your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. Eating food in moderation and choosing healthier options may decrease your chances of developing cancer, and it promotes good overall health and well-being. With the summer months in full force, it is a good time to follow these easy steps.

Recommendations to Pack in Your Picnic The National Cancer Institute advocates the Fruits & Veggies – More Matters campaign (previously called the 5 A Day Program) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daily consumption includes five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables that are varied in color, which will provide maximum essential vitamins, minerals and fiber intake.

Where do you find vitamins, minerals and fiber?

 

  • Fruit: fresh, frozen or dried; whole or in juices
  • Vegetables: fresh, frozen or in juices such as beans, corn and broccoli to name a few.
  • Increase whole grains in your diet. Unfortunately, most people only consume one serving of whole grains a day. Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains provide essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other natural plant compounds called phytochemicals. Eating more whole grains may help reduce the risk of certain diseases. Whole grains can be found in foods with the following labels: whole wheat, whole barley, whole oats, cracked wheat, graham flour, whole cornmeal, etc.

 

Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol consumption may increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including oral and esophageal cancers. Drink in moderation. Men should limit their daily consumption to two drinks per day, and women should limit their daily consumption to one drink per day.

Eat Less Fast Food and More Lean Food
Lean poultry and meats have less fat than what you would find in your typical fast food meal. Cut and throw away fat and skin from your chicken and meat. Broil or bake instead of frying.

Include low-fat dairy products in your diet. Try using non-fat or low-fat spreads instead of butter. Replace dairy foods, particularly cheeses, with low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Dress up those vegetables in the form of reduced-fat or non-fat salad dressings.

Watch Your Weight and Portion Sizes
Obesity has increased in every age category and may increase your risk of certain cancers. We have a “super-sized” appetite through increased portion sizes—both at restaurants and at home—which leads to weight gain. Solicit the help of your primary care doctor to determine a proper diet and portion sizes that are right for you.

Exercise Regularly
Along with watching your portion sizes, it is important to exercise regularly. Inactivity has been linked to increased risk of certain cancers. Exercise for 30-60 minutes for five or more days of the week. As with any guidelines, it is important to talk to your primary care doctor about what is best for you. Pack these recommendations for your next picnic, and enjoy a healthy summer!



References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007.
National Cancer Institute, 2007.