The Correlation Between Cancer and Diet
Our diet is important for a multitude of reasons. Many hear the word ‘diet’ and associate it with weight loss for cosmetic purposes, however our diet affects factors in our lives that are far more important than how we look, it affects our health.
The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that about one-third of breast cancer cases could be prevented with weight control, exercise, and cutting back on alcohol. This health trifecta is the key to a long and healthy life.
Even if you’re at a healthy weight and don’t drink excessively, you cannot get the nutritional equivalent of fruits and vegetables from a pill (while that would make things easier). In fact, the American Cancer Society states that studies have found an increased risk of cancer among those taking supplements. To be safe, the best advice I can give you is to get your nutrition through real, chewable, food sources.
The mindset must be: extra pounds = extra risk. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association of Oncology found that being overweight not only puts you at increased risk for cancer, but it almost doubles your chances of postmenopausal breast cancer.
What are some ways to lower your chances? Think lower fat, lower risk. The American Institute for Cancer Research enrolled 50,000 postmenopausal women in a study to look at the effect a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet had on breast cancer risk, and found that women on these diets were remarkably 35% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer!
Each positive lifestyle change has an impact, and you don’t have to swap everything at once- I actually think baby steps lead to more lasting changes. Take time to form healthy habits and weed out the bad ones; invest in your success and own your decisions. For example, when you eat meat, always select lean cuts. Choose beef or pork with “loin” or “round” on the label, and look for cuts that don’t have many fat streaks (marbling) in them. Also, be sure to trim any visible fat you see – these are easy ways to reduce your intake of unhealthy saturated fat.
Make healthy choices easier on yourself, and therefore more likely to be implemented. Compare fresh fruits and vegetables to frozen ones. The majority of people believe that fresh produce has the most nutritional value (and often the best flavor). However, frozen foods can actually be more nutritious because they are often picked ripe and quickly frozen (whereas fresh foods may lose some of their nutrients in the time between harvesting and eating). Steam (or microwave!) frozen produce until crisp tender to maintain nutrition.
Shy away from canned produce. The vegetables are filled with sodium and many fruits are packed in heavy syrup. This is dangerous because it is extra sugar that your body doesn’t need. The American Heart Association recommends added sugars should be limited to six teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and nine teaspoons (38 grams) for men. Just for reference, one can of soda has 8 teaspoons!
Lastly, it is important to understand that alcohol raises the risk of cancers. People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. Be mindful that one drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor.
And while I hate to burst the bubble… a red wine glass that is the size of a fishbowl does not constitute as one drink, nor does a pint of beer.
At GoFor20 we believe in enjoying splurges- while choosing wisely. Live within the confines of what is safe, own your decisions, and reap the health benefits of your healthy lifestyle.