April is Cancer Awareness Month

Nutrition experts from the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA) have stated "poor diet and lack of exercise are related to just as many cancer cases as smoking". Since nutritionists agree that eating right, exercise and weight control can reduce cancer risk by 30-40 percent, take control using the tips below. Cancer survivors may also benefit from the following plan to reduce risk of recurrence.

Cancer-Fighting Eating Plan
• Eat a plant-based diet centered on whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
• Eat 3 ounces of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, or sardines, twice a week.
• Eat 4 servings (1/2 cup) of legumes (dried beans & peas) a week.
• Eat 7 servings of whole grains daily. Try new grains such as quinoa, pearled barley, bulgur wheat and whole-wheat couscous.
• Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Choose a variety of dark colored produce - orange, red, green. Adhering to this simple dietary change alone could decrease cancer by 20 percent. Be sure to include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, to reduce breast cancer risk, and tomato products, such as tomato sauce and juice, to lower prostate cancer risk.
• Increase dietary fiber to 25-30 grams per day. This means doubling fiber intake for the average American.
• Snack on nuts but limit portion size to 1/3 cup per day.
• Eat one serving of soy foods daily. One serving = 1/2 cup tofu, 1 cup soy milk, ¼ cup soy nuts, or ½ cup edamame. Note: Mark Messina’s review of literature in the November 2001 Journal of Nutrition Supplement recommends that breast cancer patients do not have to limit soy in their diets.
• Flavor meals with phytochemical-rich herbs and spices such as oregano, rosemary, garlic, tumeric, etc.
• Sip on 3-5 cups of green tea daily. Black tea is healthy too.
• Avoid charred and burned foods. Marinate meat prior to grilling and precook in the microwave to reduce carcinogens.
• Limit cured meats like hot dogs, sausage, and bacon.
• Limit alcohol to less than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Breast cancer survivors should limit intake to fewer than two drinks per week, if at all.
• Reduce total dietary fat by limiting animal fats (both milk and meat) and opt for healthier monounsaturated fat (olive oil, canola oil, and avocados) and omega-3 fats (salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts). Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as corn oil and "hydrogenated" vegetable oils.

Stay physically active. Regular exercise not only helps to maintain a healthy body weight but also reduces the risk of certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer. Exercise gives the immune system a boost!
Sandy Sotnick, MS,RD.

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