Adopting good eating habits is an important step for all people to take. There are many foods that may increase your risk of getting certain diseases including cancers, heart problems and other serious illnesses. Research shows that eating certain foods and avoiding foods may decrease your chances of developing cancer.
CancerCare recommends that you try to take the following measures for healthy eating:
Reduce Alcohol Intake: Alcohol consumption may increase your risk of certain cancers including oral and esophageal cancers.
Increase Fruits and Vegetables: Studies have shown that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that you eat reduces your risk for certain cancers.
The National Cancer Institute’s 5 a Day Program
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women and men eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Your fruits and vegetables should be varied in color to maximize the essential vitamins, minerals and fiber intake.
Examples include: fruit juices, whole fruits, frozen and fresh vegetables, dried fruits, beans, corns, etc.
Increase Whole Grains in Diet: On average, Americans consume only one serving of whole grains daily. 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.
Eat Less Fat:
- Include lean poultry and meats and low-fat dairy products in your diet
- Cut and throw away fat and skin from your chicken and meat
- Broil or bake instead of frying
- Switch to reduced or non-fat salad dressings
- Use non-fat or low-fat spreads instead of butterReplace dairy foods, particularly cheeses, with ones that are low or no fat
Watch your weight and portion sizes: Studies have shown that being overweight may increase your risk of certain cancers. Americans have increased their portion sizes both at restaurants and at home which leads to weight gain. Consult your doctor about what portion sizes are right for you.
Exercise regularly: Along with watching your portion sizes, it is important to exercise regularly. Being inactive has been linked to increased risk of certain cancers.
As with any guidelines, it is important to talk to your doctor about what is best for you. You may be at an increased risk for a disease based on your personal or family history.