College Students

Eating for Cancer Prevention

Content by: Erin Nugent, RD

While some risk factors are unavoidable, many lifestyle choices can help to reduce the risk of cancer. Follow these tips for fueling your body for cancer prevention.

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While some risk factors are unavoidable (age, gender, family history, etc.) many lifestyle choices can help to reduce the risk of cancer. Several lifestyle choices are important for maintaining an overall status of health, such as avoiding sun exposure, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight.

By combining these healthy habits with an overall nutrient dense diet, it may keep you healthy and reduce your risk for developing many kinds of cancer. Follow these tips for fueling your body for cancer prevention.

* Appropriate Daily Calorie Intake.
Maintaining a healthy weight is associated with a decreased risk for several chronic diseases as well as cancer prevention. It is important to choose a balanced diet in order to get a variety of nutrients, but it is necessary to also consume these foods within an individual’s calorie limit. Helping individuals with an obese BMI to lose excess weight will also support a reduced risk for cancer.

* Foods First Approach.
Research indicates that consuming nutrients through real, whole foods provides natural nutrients to support a healthy body and protect from harmful free radicals. This is not always the case with nutrition supplements. Supplements should be a secondary approach when consuming whole foods is made too difficult or not an option for the individual.

* Avoid Added Sugars and Solid Fats.
By consuming heavily processed foods containing added sugars and solid fats, these items often displace many of the nutrient dense foods that should be included in the diet. Additionally, these items may also provide a heavy amount of calories, and very little nutrients.

* Include a Variety of Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains.
These items supply a good amount of phytonutrients (also called antioxidants) which play a role in protecting the body against free radicals. The more variety one is able to consume, the wider variety of phytonutrients in the diet. These foods are also rich in fiber, which is linked to a number of cancer preventive properties.

* Choose Plant Proteins.
These plant foods pack a powerful punch by supplying both fiber and protein to the diet along with other micronutrients like iron and potassium. Eating more plant protein than animal protein in the diet has been linked to cancer prevention.

* Limit Alcohol.
While alcohol provides virtually no nutrients or health benefits, it has been linked to cancer risk. For best health outcomes it is recommended for women to limit consumption to 1 drink per day, and men to limit to 2 drinks per day.

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