Healthy Eating to Prevent Cancer

fresh fuitsThe relationship between healthy eating and cancer prevention is a complex affair. Because of the variety of foods that we eat there will be something that we eat that can affect our risk of cancer. In fact recent studies have shown that 30 to 40% of cancers are preventable by the diet we adopt.

By modifying what you eat and being active, you can reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems. Here are some guidelines for the types of foods that can reduce the risk of cancer.

Fruits and vegetables– Eating at least five different portions of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of many cancers, especially those of the digestive system such as the mouth and stomach cancers. It’s important to eat at least different vegetables of different colors that way you can get a variety of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables won’t reduce the risk of hormonal cancers such as breast or prostrate cancer.

Meat– Eat smaller and less portions of processed meat. Eating lots of red and processed meat can increase your risk of stomach cancer and possibly bowel cancer. Chicken or white meat is unlikely to increase your risk of cancer.

When you do cook meat try braising it or any other low temperature means of cooking it. Cooking meat until it is well done can actually produce cancer- causing chemicals. You might want to switch from ordering well done steaks at restaurants or even scratching steaks from your general diet.

Fish– Eating fish can reduce your risk of bowel cancer so you should try switching from meat to fish. It’s good for losing weight as well especially if your fish is poached, baked or steamed.

Salt– Aside from high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, eating too much high salt meals may increase your chances of developing stomach cancer. Check the salt content of processed foods, there is often salt where you would least expect it.

Fats– Fats are a necessary part of our diet. However high fat diets can increase the risk of cancer. Saturated fats are found in whole milk dairy products, red meat, palm, coconut and cottonseed oils. Saturated fats are related to increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

Try using more unsaturated fats in your meals. Unsaturated fats are found in corn, sunflower seed, soy bean or safflower oils; and monounsaturated, are found in olive or canola oil. Unsaturated fats may help reduce cholesterol and heart disease, and lower your cancer risk. Choose lean cuts of meat or switch to skim milk.

Vitamins and Minerals– There is no research to pinpoint what exact vitamins and minerals can help prevent certain types of cancer. What you should remember is that you do need a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Folate, selenium, calcium, vitamins A, C and E could reduce the risk for many types of cancer. Don’t rely too much on supplements. Eating a well balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is still the best way to go.