If you took every piece of advice on ways to reduce cancer risk you would probably never eat anything and die of starvation. It seems everyone has a theory on what causes cancer and ways to cut the risk. So, who should we actually listen to and what advice should we take on board?
The best advice can be sourced from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and currently they give 9 pieces of advice to reduce the risk 1/3 of all cancers! Here they are:
1. Keep your body weight within the healthy weight range.
Based on your BMI (body mass index) this is calculated by weight and height. The healthy weight range is from 18.5-24.9kg/m². Although the BMI has limitations, like it doesn’t take into consideration muscle mass, it is still a valuable way to measure a healthy weight range in the general population.
2. Be active!
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day and if your fitness is good enough try for 60 minutes. Secondly, keep your butt off a seat as much as possible. Sitting for long periods also promotes cancer risk.
3. Reduce and limit the amount of high energy drinks and food.
High energy drinks like soft drinks, fast foods and high energy snacks like chips and chocolate have many factors which make healthy weight harder to maintain. In these types of drinks and foods, you are likely to find high amounts of salt and the types of fats which promote cancer.
4. Love your plant foods!
Try eating more fruit, vegetables, grain foods and beans. Five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit is the goal for the general population. In each meal, add a type of grains like brown rice, quinoa, pasta or legumes like chickpeas, baked beans or kidney beans.
5. Make red meat and processed meats only a small part of your diet.
Aim for no more than 500g of red meat a week. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb and goat. To put this in practical terms, 65g is around the size of your fist. Processed meats are meats which have been smoked, cured, salted or chemicals preserved.
6. Put down the drink.
If you can, don’t drink. If you enjoy a glass, aim for no more than one (1) standard drink a day for women or two (2) standard drinks a day for men. No more than four (4) standard drinks on any one occasion.
7. Stay away from the mold and salt.
The WCRF wants us to aim for no more than 5g of salt a day, this is a teaspoon. It is not an easy thing to achieve especially with the amount of salt added to processed foods including bread. This means looking on the back of packaging and selecting foods with lower salt and aiming to eat foods which are less processed with less added salt. A type of mold called aflatoxin found in grains and legumes can cause liver cancer. Be careful and aware of the “best before dates” and storing these foods correctly.
8. Supplements do not replace food!
If you want to prevent cancer popping more pills is not the answer. Supplements cannot replace all the fantastic parts of whole foods. Keep it simple, if you do not need supplements based on recommendations from your doctor, aim for the food first.
9. Breastfeed for 6 months.
This one is for the ladies as breast feeding for 6 months and longer with complimentary feeding protects not only the baby from cancers but also the mother. Although the father is not breastfeeding, providing a supportive environment for this will help the whole family.
My advice: Take on these reasonable nine pieces of advice, which are supported by science and strong evidence. You can prevent 1/3 of all cancers with these actions and it is worth putting into action.
1. McMichael AJ. Food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention. Authoritative report from World Cancer Research Fund provides global update. Public Health Nutrition. 2008;11(7):762-3.
Author: Ashleigh Feltham
I am an Accredited Practicing Dietician and owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics. I believe everyone deserves to live a life of health and wellness. I am passionate about helping people achieve their highest quality of life through nutrition, mental health and exercise.
I hold a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Bachelor of Human Nutrition. In addition to being an Accredited Practicing Dietician, I am also a qualified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and have been working in the fitness industry for over 10 years. I was an elite gymnast as well as an elite rock climber where I represented Australia for four years.
“I have been exercising for as long as I can remember. Knowing the benefits of moving the body and eating well, and the impact that awareness and nutritional education has on the quality of life, I want to give back to the community in ways that I know best.”
I believe the power of the individual is unlimited and I offer an understanding approach to my clients through my personal experiences of recovery from illness. I am regularly published in leading health, wellness and fitness magazines such as Oxygen Magazine. I am nutrition expert for Oh! Health Magazine and Men’s Muscle and Health magazine and am featured in each publication. Through the featured nutrition articles I write for magazines as well as the Feed Your Future Dietetics Blog I educate readers about the importance of a balanced diet and the impact it has on an individual’s quality of life.
“There is so much information about nutrition and dietetics in the media it is no wonder there is confusion about how to eat for health and wellness. It is my goal to use my knowledge to assist in eliminating the myths and providing accurate information to assist the public in achieving health and increased quality of life.”
Link to social media or website: http://www.feedyourfuturedietetics.com