Despite great advances in treatment, cancer remains a leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented by avoiding risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies. Among these evidence-based strategies are the 2012 American Cancer Society Guidelines for Cancer Prevention which have a strong correlation between increased adherence to diet recommendations and decreased cancer mortality.

In recent years, research has evolved to allow a clearer assessment of various dietary and lifestyle patterns associated with health risks, and it is becoming more and more evident that an integrated diet and lifestyle pattern of a healthy, balanced diet, adequate physical activity, and maintenance of a healthy weight will have a significant impact on reducing cancer risk.

Five tips to reduce your cancer risk:

  • Maintain or Achieve a Healthy Weight

Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk for several types of cancer. Maintaining healthy body weight, or losing weight if you have a body mass index (BMI) if you are in the overweight or obese range.

  • Limit Added Sugars and Solid Fats

Limit your intake of foods with added sugars and solid fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. These foods include sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed snack foods and desserts.

  • Include Vegetables, Fruits and Whole Grains

Non Starchy vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains are linked with lower cancer risk. It’s not clear which components in vegetables and fruits are most protective against cancer. So enjoy a variety of these foods as they are often rich sources of a variety of nutrients. 

  • Moderate Your Portions of Red and Processed Meats

Some studies suggest a link between the colon and other types of cancer and red meat intake. This is especially true for processed meats such as ham, bacon and hot dogs. If you eat these foods, choose them in moderation.

  • Avoid or Limit Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is considered to be a major modifiable risk factor for cancer. Even a moderate amount of alcohol may increase your risk of some types of cancer. So avoid alcohol.

Though diet and exercise are critical components of healthy lifestyles, it’s also important to remember that sleep is inherently linked with how we eat, how we exercise and how we function on a daily basis. Getting the proper amount of sleep each night is necessary to face the world with your best foot forward. Sleep will help you on the road to good fitness, good eating and good health. Knowing what foods and drinks to avoid is part of the happy sleeping equation. Caffeine, alcohol, high-fat meals, sugary snacks and spicy foods may all be culprits ruining a good night’s sleep. Sleep quality is affected by a huge number of factors, including stress at home or at work, looking at bright screens in the hours before bed, and even the physiological stress of a hot day endured without air conditioning. As many insomniacs know, worrying about sleep can keep the mind going and make it even harder to fall asleep.

Stress is a major reason that people today are becoming more and more susceptible to many diseases, including cancer. Stress distresses the body and mind, which creates an environment of inflammation. This environment is what suppresses immunity further, which then increases the risk of falling sick.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are of the writer only.

Samara Mahindra

Founder & CEO of CARER
CARER works with cancer patients, caregivers, survivors, and specialists to prevent and help cancer patients. To know more about Carer (Cancer Prevention & Therapy Experts), please visit here.

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