Maintain a healthy Diet and Body Weight

What does healthy eating have to do with lowering cancer risk?

Choosing healthy foods in appropriate portions is one way to keep at a healthier weight. There is convincing evidence that obesity, especially excess body fat around the waist increases risk for certain cancers such as colorectal , breast (in postmenopausal women), endometrium, esophageal, pancreatic and kidney cancers. Eating certain types of food, such as high fibre foods or limiting processed meats can lower cancer risk but there is no miracle food that can prevent cancer.

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5 tips for healthy eating and lowering your risk for cancer:

Eat more plant foods

Vegetables and fruit

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially from local trees, bushes, and gardens. This includes berries, rose hips, and garden produce.  Any kind of vegetables and fruits is good – whether fresh, canned, dried, or frozen.

Whole grains, beans and lentils: These foods are excellent sources of dietary fibre. Researchers are not certain as to how dietary fibre lowers risk of certain cancers such as colorectal cancer but recent studies have linked high fibre diets with growth of good bacteria, which in turn, help to keep the colon healthy.

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Eat less processed meat

Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage (like bologna, salami, summer sausage), deli meats, and canned meats are linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer.

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Limit sugary foods and drinks

Pop, energy drinks, chocolate and other flavoured milks, sweetened coffees, iced tea, fruit juice and drinks or drinks made from powder contribute to weight gain. Water, traditional broths and plain milk are better choices.

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Limit fatty foods and salt

Foods high in fat usually adds to weight gain, which in turn increases your risk of cancer.  Salt-preserved foods such as salt fish and salt-preserved vegetables have been linked to stomach cancer. Experimental research has shown that salt damages the stomach lining and causes lesions, which, if left to develop, can become stomach cancer.  However, it is not known if total salt intake increases the risk for cancer.

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  • Fat (Dietitians of Canada)

Avoid cooking meat at high temperatures

Cooking meats at high temperatures, so that meat is burnt or charred, releases some chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer.  Marinating meat in vinegar or lemon juice before cooking on the BBQ or over a fire reduces the formation of those chemicals. Slowly cooking meats is a better choice.

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