Reducing the Risk of Cancer through a Healthy Lifestyle

Cancer has been a deadly killer disease for many years now. Despite innumerable researches on prevention and cure, the World Cancer Research Fund International says that there is an expected 70% increase of new cancer cases over the next 20 years.

Current cancer research from the University of Arizona, led by Dr. Lindsay Kohler identified healthy lifestyle prevention guidelines that could account for 10% to 45% cancer incidence reduction. The general method that the researchers used is to identify the 12 landmark studies related to cancer prevention that have been published in the last 10 years. These studies were published by the American Cancer Society or the World Cancer Research Fund.

Dr. Kohler and her colleagues looked for consistent patterns and narrowed down the most common guidelines. They said that adherence to these guidelines will significantly reduce cancer. A significant application of this study to current medical practice is for practitioners to narrow down their recommendations to these few guidelines to help their patients lead healthier and cancer-free lives.

Here are some healthy lifestyle guidelines identified that will help in significantly reducing our risk of developing cancer:

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Healthy WeightBeing overweight is associated with all types of diseases, not just cancer. Technically, an overweight person has extra pounds from water, bone, fat or muscle. It is now easy to determine if we are overweight by just measuring our Body Mass Index.

  1. Have an Active Lifestyle

An active lifestyle simply means moving more. Even just going for a 30-minute walk every day is a good start.

walkThere are many exercises or active lifestyle programs available that are currently available for us. With the various choices out there, we should be able to find one that suits our preference, budget and schedule. Too often, many people find lots of excuses for not being active. One big excuse is that they do not seem to find exercise effective.

If you have this issue, take a look at role models of healthy living and take a peek into their lives. Most of these people have blogs or social media accounts that highlight their active lifestyles. Sometimes it helps to hear real stories of people. Live demonstration is crucial if we want to gain inspiration to live an active lifestyle.

  1. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses.

healthy dietEating more organic and natural food in general helps prevent many diseases. However, there are certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains that have been specifically identified to help prevent cancer. In the list are garlic, broccoli, lemons, blueberries, Brazil nuts, artichoke, apples, avocado, bean sprouts, bran cereal, cabbage, carrots, cherries, corn, dates, ginger, grapefruit, grapes, kale, mushrooms, peas, and pomegranate.

Pulse crops are grain legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas. When cooked, these types of food contain huge amounts of fiver and phytochemicals.

  1. Limit sugar and fat

Daily sugar intake should be limited. There are lots of processed foods with added sugar. Technical words such as glucose, fructose, corn syrup, dextrose and maltose are all forms of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that men should only take 150 grams of sugar daily, while women should only consume 100 grams of sugar daily.

There are two types of fat that are not good for our body. These are saturated fats and trans fats. It is highly recommended to consume foods unsaturated fats. We can find them in salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts.

  1. Limit red meat and avoid processed meat

The American Institute for Cancer Research has a published study that red and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Instead of red or processed meat, other sources of protein include fish, poultry, eggs, or high-protein grains such as quinoa.

  1. Reduce salt intake

According to the World Health Organization, salt intake should only be 5 grams per day. Too much salt, according to Japanese researcher Dr. Shoichiro Tsugane, increases the risk of stomach cancer. One way to limit salt intake is to look for foods that have “no added salt” or “low salt” on the label.

These identified guidelines showed strong reduction in certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and endometrial cancer. It should be mentioned that Dr. Kohler and her colleagues did not take other factors such as family history and environment into consideration. If you want to learn more about this research, it is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

Written by Norma Cote