Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

Good nutrition is important for all individuals. The American Cancer Society provides guidelines on diet, nutrition, and cancer prevention. For some people, these guidelines may mean making a few small changes in their diet. However, for others, change will take more time and effort. It is important to remember that change is a matter of choice, and you can start making good choices right now.

Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources

  • Eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day
  • Eat other foods from plant sources, such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta, or beans several times each day.

One serving may be…

  • 1/2 cup fruit or juice
  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetable
  • 1 cup leafy vegetable
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 ounce dry cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta

Choose foods made with whole grains rather than processed flour. These foods are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Beans are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in fat, high in protein and can be used as a meat alternative.

Be sure to limit salty foods.

Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all

  • Men: limit alcohol to two drinks a day; Women: one drink a day
  • A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

Limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources.

  • Choose foods low in fat
  • Limit intake of meats, especially high-fat meats
  • Avoid processed meats such as ham, salami, bacon, pastrami, sausage, bratwurst, and hot dogs.

Switching from high-fat to low-fat foods should be done gradually. Try using cooking spray instead of oil or skim milk instead of low-fat milk. Select baked, broiled, and roasted foods instead of fried.

When choosing meat, select cuts that are lean, not marbled with fat. Eat smaller portions of cooked meat, fish, and poultry.

Choose low-fat meals when eating out. Don’t be afraid to ask for lower fat choices.

Be physically active: Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

  • Be at least moderately active for 30 minutes or more each day.
  • Stay within your healthy weight range

Physical activity can be fun! Try walking briskly, swimming, gardening, or housework. The 30 minutes of activity does not have to be continuous either. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is just one way to sneak in small amounts of activity throughout the day.

Source: Compass Group (2013)