April is National Cancer Awareness Month. The American Institute of Cancer Research recommends eating a healthful, phytochemical-rich diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthful weight in order to reduce your cancer risk by 30%. Too busy at work to adhere to these guidelines? Just follow these suggestions for strategies to use on the job to reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
1. Eat breakfast at your desk.
A whole grain blueberry muffin is a great source of cancer-fighting fiber and anthocyanin (an antioxidant). Eat that blueberry muffin with an orange to add the antioxidant vitamin C, as well as folic acid. A perfect way to round out this meal is with a cup of polyphenol-rich green tea.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Drinking 6-8 cups of water during the day not only keeps you hydrated, but also decreases you risk of bladder cancer.
3. Brown bag it.
A brown bag lunch of tuna fish salad on whole wheat bread provides cancer-fighting omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Add a glass of low sodium V-8 or tomato juice for a dose of the powerful antioxidant lycopene. The last elements of your meal should be a cup of strawberries (they're high in vitamin C) and low-fat vanilla yogurt topped with ground flaxseed. Yogurt is calcium-rich, and calcium may help ward off colon cancer. Flaxseeds are a source of the phytoestrogen lignan and omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
4. Order healthfully at quick lunches.
When ordering out for lunch, have a salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing on the side. Olive oil is one of the most healthful fats. It contains phytochemicals and Vitamin E that may help ward off breast and colon cancer. Add onions to the salad for a good source of allium, which may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Just be sure to brush your teeth or have a mint before you go back to work.
5. Dine out mindfully.
At a longer dining experience, begin with lentil or minestrone soup, both of which are which are high in fiber, folic acid, and other antioxidants. Folic acid is not only good for your heart, but it may also decrease your risk of colon cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are all good vegetable choices that are high in isothiocyanates and indoles, which boost the body's cancer-fighting enzymes. For your entree, baked salmon (high in omega-3s) or grilled marinated tofu (high in the isoflavones genistein and daidzein) are good choices that may help prevent breast and prostate cancer. For dessert, order a fruit cup with berries (blueberries, raspberries, & strawberries), all of which are high in anthocyanins.
6. Snack well.
Snack on roasted soy nuts, which are high in prostate-fighting isoflavones. In addition, try dried apricots, which are rich in beta-carotene. Brazil nuts also make a tasty treat -- in moderation -- and they are high in selenium.
7. Get moving!
More and more jobs are strictly sedentary these days, but that doesn't mean that you can't exercise at all while you work. Try going for a walk during your lunch break, or taking a few extra trips up and down the stairs when you need to clear your head. Instead of emailing your coworker, walk down the hall and talk with him or her in person. It's worth the effort -- exercise helps to boost your immune system and maintain your weight. This helps you fight cancer and other diseases.
8. Skip the smoke.
Okay, you caught us. This isn't a nutritional suggestion. However, we recommend that you skip the cigarette breaks. This will decrease your risk of lung and upper digestive tract cancers.
Looking for more information? Check out the resources in our Nutrition Education Store!