Nutrition and Cancer: Is there a link?

Nutrition and Cancer: Is there a link?

Yes!  There are several known diseases that have a direct link to nutrition; diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are the big ones.  But did you know that your diet can also impact your risk for Cancer?  It is estimated that about one third of the commonly diagnosed cancers could be prevented by diet, exercise and body weight.  Many cancers are caused by genetics and environmental factors, but following the cancer prevention guidelines can still reduce your risk.

Here are the recommendations by the American Institute of Cancer Research for cancer prevention.

  • * It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.
  • * After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.
*Special Population Recommendations

The nutrition recommendations above can be condensed into a what we call a “plant based diet.”  A plant based diet means that a majority of your intake comes from plant sources (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes), with only a small portion (if at all) coming from animal sources (meat, dairy). Also, avoid empty (non-nutritious), high calorie foods (fast food, junk, concentrated sweets, sodas, candy).

“Half your plate, fruits and veggies!”  The typical American plate used to include a large portion of meat, a small side of vegetable and a small side of carbohydrate (pasta, rice, bread).  This needs to shift to half of the plate filled with fruits and vegetables and only a small portion of animal protein and a small side of carbohydrate (whole grain!).

One way to accomplish eating less meat is to participate in “Meatless Monday.”  This practice encourages you to give up meat at least once/week.  Not only can it help you save calories, reduce your red meat intake for cancer prevention, but it also can save you money!  Meat can be one of the highest priced items in your grocery cart. 

Stay tuned to the Living Well blog for the month of October for other Cancer related topics and recommendations.


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