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Nutrition, Diet and the Fight against Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, if all Americans maintained a healthy weight, ate a balanced diet that emphasized plant foods and engaged in regular physical activity, as many as one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented. In fact, for the majority of Americans who do not use tobacco, dietary choices and physical activity are the most important modifiable determinants of cancer risk.

With today’s busy schedules, looking for nutrition in a supplement bottle may seem easier than eating a balanced diet. However, because the human body better absorbs vitamins and minerals directly from food, healthy eating is the best way to ensure your body gets the benefits it needs.

Meat as a side dish?

An occasional steak is fine, but meat should be considered an accompaniment rather than a main dish. Limit beef, pork and lamb intake. And completely avoid processed meats.

More fruits and vegetables, please

Home canning is an excellent alternative to purchasing canned fruit and vegetables. Canning fresh produce from the local farmer’s market can help significantly reduce your intake of salt, sugar and preservatives.

Fat busters

Evidence shows a direct correlation between being overweight and certain cancers. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are low-calorie foods that protect against weight gain and may help in the fight against cancer.

Preventative foods

To aid in the prevention of various forms of cancers, be sure to consume plenty of healthy foods.

To aid in the prevention of ...Consume ...
Colon cancer Beans – legumes, lentils, peas, and soybeans
Skin, bladder, lung, esophagus, breast, and colorectal cancer Berries – especially blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
Mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach cancer Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage brussel sprouts, bok choy, and kale
Mouth, pharynx and larynx cancer Dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, romaine and leaf lettuce, mustard and collard greens, chicory, and Swiss chard
Colon, breast, skin, and lung cancer Flaxseed
Skin and breast cancer and leukemia Grapes and grape juice
Colon, liver, breast, prostate, lung, skin, and digestive tract cancer Green tea
Prostate, breast, lung, and endometrial cancer Tomatoes – particularly sauce, paste or juice
Colon, breast, skin, and lung cancer Whole grain – brown rice, wheat breads, rolls, pasta and cereals

Download this chart of cancer-fighting foods

According to the National Cancer Institute, the foods you eat on a regular basis make up your diet. Diet is being studied as a risk factor for cancer. It is hard to study the effects of diet on cancer because a person’s diet includes foods that may protect against cancer and foods that may increase the risk of cancer. It is also hard for people who take part in the studies to keep track of what they eat over a long period of time. This may explain why studies have different results about how diet affects the risk of cancer.

Some studies show that fruits and non-starchy vegetables may protect against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Fruits may also protect against lung cancer. Some studies have shown that a diet high in fat, proteins, calories, and red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer, but other studies have not shown this. It is not known if a diet low in fat and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables lowers the risk of colorectal cancer.

Here are additional diet and nutrition resources from the National Cancer Institute:

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