As many as 50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable, according to the World Health Organization. Other research suggests that just five percent of cancers are hereditary. That means you can take steps today to prevent cancer in your own life and encourage those close to you to do the same.
Eating right is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk. In honor of National Cancer Control Month, start making these changes in your eating habits to reduce your risk of cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight. Watch your calorie intake and limit foods that are high in fat and added sugars.
Eat real food. In other words, avoid processed foods and choose foods that are as close to their most natural state as possible, such as cooked or raw vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
Get enough protein. Eat protein from a variety of sources, including seafood, poultry, lean red meat, beans, eggs and nuts.
Limit alcohol consumption. If you drink at all, try to limit your consumption to no more than two alcoholic drinks a day (for men) or one drink a day (for women).
Eat less salt (sodium). Some foods, particularly canned and processed foods, contain high amounts of sodium. The FDA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, but the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams daily. Read food labels to know how much sodium is in the foods you eat.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, you can also significantly limit your risk by:
- If you’re a smoker, quit as soon as you can.
- Exercising regularly. Aim for at least 3 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
- Protecting yourself from the sun by using SPF, covering up and staying out of the sun when possible.
- Getting immunized.
- Keeping up with routine well checks with your healthcare provider. If you do ever develop cancer, early detection and treatment can increase your chances of beating the disease.
If you’re looking for more ways you can reduce your risk of cancer, contact a primary care provider with Goshen Physicians.