While there are no guarantees that you will not contract cancer over your lifetime there are some healthy living tips that can reduce the risk. Scientists now believe that one third of cancers can be avoided by proper nutrition, a daily exercise program and maintaining a healthy weight. These three things will go on long way to reducing the risk. Research has shown that making even small changes to your lifestyle will make a significant difference in the quality of life for many years and decades to come. So let us look at some of the things that we can do.
It is believed that maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do next to not smoking. It is suggested that people try to maintain their Body Mass Index (BMI) at the lower end of their range.
Evidence suggests that excess fat is a risk factor for at least six different types of cancer. These would be colon cancer, post menopausal breast cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and endometrial cancer. Body fat is also beginning to be linked to an increased risk of gallbladder cancer as well.
We all know that a regular exercise program is not only good for heart health but for overall health in general. It can also reduce the risk of many forms of cancer. The added benefit here is that it will also help you to control weight.
It is recommended that you exercise at least one half hour per day and increase that to one hour as your fitness level improves. If you do not presently have an exercise program take a few minutes to think about what you enjoy doing. This will help you continue the program for the long run.
Diet is very important to lowering your cancer risk. Limit or avoid foods that are high in fats and added sugars in low in fiber. These are the types of foods that can cause us to be overweight and obese which is one of the major risk factors for developing cancer. Stay away from fast and processed foods as much as you can.
Incorporate fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetables and beans into your diet as much as possible. Try to eat five servings of these plant based food each day. Diets that contain a high amount of these high fiber foods will reduce the risk of cancer as well as help you maintain a healthy weight.
There is strong evidence that links red meat to the incidence of colorectal cancer. This is one of the more common forms of cancer in the United States. It is suggested that you try to limit the consumption of red meats (beef, pork and lamb) to a maximum of 18 ounces per week. In addition processed meats such as bacon, ham, cold cuts and sausages should be reserved for special occasions or holidays.
There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption can cause a number of different cancers. Reducing the amount you drink can reduce the risk of developing these types of cancers. For men it is suggested that you have no more than two drinks per day and for women one drink each day.
Limit the amount of salty foods that you eat. Many processed foods are high in sodium and this is just one more reason to avoid them. We know that high salt intake will increase the risk of developing high blood pressure but many do not realize that it can also increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Mothers are advised to breast feed for the first six months and then gradually add other liquids and foods. Our cancer risk is affected by the things that we do throughout of lives so it is never too early to be thinking about prevention. This also has a two fold benefit. By breastfeeding you are reducing the chance that the infant will become overweight or obese and it has been shown to reduce the risk of the mother developing breast cancer.
In conclusion, while we are not likely to eliminate the risk of developing cancer entirely there are some simple lifestyle and dietary changes that we can make to greatly reduce that risk. Remember that even the smallest changes are a step in the right direction.