Health Services

Smart Tips - The Power of Healthy Eating

Tip

Did you know that dietary factors account for about 30% of all cancers? By including a wide array of healthy plant foods including-- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans-- and maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce the incidence of many other serious diseases. And it can be as simple as learning how to navigate your grocery store aisles. By making small changes every week you can make great strides toward eating a health-promoting diet in a short period of time - while saving money!

Evidence

The American Cancer Society estimates that around one-third of deaths that are due to cancer are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight 1. According to the National Cancer Institute, people who eat a poor diet, or are overweight may be at increased risk of several types of cancer 2. For example, studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fat have an increased risk of colon cancer. Drinking alcohol has been associated with cancer of the mouth, esophagus, breast and colon.

Additionally, numerous studies have shown that the cancer protective diet outlined below can significantly reduce the risk of other serious diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes 3.

Recommendations

  • Choose a diet of mostly plant foods, with 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruit per day, and a variety of other high-fiber whole grains and legumes such as beans. 3,4,5
  • Limit red meat and avoid processed meat consumption. 4,5
  • Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life.
  • To help avoid overweight: choose healthy, unprocessed foods (as mentioned above); avoid sugary drinks, opting for water to quench thirst; limit processed foods high in added sugar, low in fiber and high in fat. 6
  • If you drink at all, limit alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks/day for men and 1/day for women. 2,4,5

References

1. American Cancer Society. Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

2. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Prevention Overview; Risk Factors

3. Harvard School of Public Health on Diet and Health

4. American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) on Diet:
AICR Reduce your Cancer Risk with Diet
AICR Recommendations for Cancer Prevention
AICR Foods that Fight Cancer

5. American Cancer Society on Diet

6. AICR on Energy Dense Foods and Avoiding Overweight