by Jenny Pasanen, Registered Dietitian
It’s almost a given that each of us knows someone who has been impacted by cancer. With World Cancer Day this month, let’s get educated about what can be done to mitigate our chances of having to deal with cancer ourselves.
There are many different kinds of cancer and each has different triggers and treatments. Some we have very little power to change (like genetics), but some are strongly linked to lifestyle factors. Consider trying something from this list of evidence-based strategies to help prevent cancer.
Top 6 things to avoid
- Sun burns and tanning beds
- Smoking and second-hand smoke
- All forms of alcohol — if you do drink, limit to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men
- Processed meat (deli meat, salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausages, hot dogs, jerky)
- Red meat (beef, pork, goat, lamb) should be limited to less than 500 grams (1lb) per week
- Sitting for long periods of time (such as at a desk or watching TV)
Top 6 things to do
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
- Get screened for breast/cervical/prostate/testicular and colorectal cancers
- Achieve a healthy body weight
- Eat vegetables from the allium (garlic/onion/leek) family
- Eat fruits
- Eat plant foods that contain carotenoids, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, selenium, lycopene, and fibre (supplements haven’t been shown to have the same benefit)
- Examples include carrots, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, nectarine, apricot, papaya, cantaloupe, peach, watermelon, pear, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, kiwi, strawberry, avocado, tomato, peppers, kale, spinach, dandelion leaves, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, asparagus, artichoke, lentils, edamame, chickpeas, beans (black, navy, kidney, pinto…), brazil nuts, brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread
For best results, pick just one point and work on changing it for the better. Once that’s going well, add another. Remember, every small change counts towards the big picture when it comes to your health.