October 02, 2016

Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Although not all the behaviors listed below lower the risk of breast cancer, they are good for overall health.* One large study found that women who followed these guidelines had a lower risk of breast and other types of cancer including colorectal cancer [242].

Everyone should aim to:
• Be physically active (get regular exercise).
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Survivors who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
• Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
• Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
• Limit "bad" fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
• Eat "good" fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
• Limit alcohol intake to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men.

Adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines [95]. * Being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and to a lesser degree, eating fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of breast cancer. Other factors are good for your overall health and may help lower the risk of other types of cancer.

Organic Foods
• At this time, there is no research showing organic foods are more nutritious or better for your health than foods that are farmed by conventional methods [95].
•Organic foods do not appear to lower the risk of breast cancer or overall cancer [243].

Meat and Dairy
• Organic meat and dairy products come from animals raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.
• While some people prefer to eat organic meat, chicken and dairy, they do not appear to lower the risk of cancer. At this time, there is no scientific evidence showing a link between the growth hormones or antibiotics used in conventional animal farming and cancer [95].

Fruits and Vegetables • Organic plant foods are grown without the use of conventional pesticides. Conventional fruits and vegetables may have low-levels of pesticide residue.
• However, according to the American Cancer Society, the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables outweigh any health risks linked with pesticide residue [95].
• Fruits and vegetables (both organic and conventional) are part of a healthy diet. Buying conventional produce (fresh or frozen) and thoroughly washing and rinsing before eating is always a healthy choice [95].

It's Never Too Late To Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
Making healthy lifestyle choices has benefits at any age. Being more active, eating a balanced diet and becoming more aware of your health can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website www.choosemyplate.gov has free tools to help you set weight and activity goals for healthy living. For example, their tool Supertracker can help you plan, track and analyze your diet and exercise.

Reference: Susan G. Komen