Reducing your risk for cancer - Macon Telegraph (blog)

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Some health experts believe that 20 percent-40 percent of cancer risk can be attributed to diet. The American institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund gathered a group of scientists from around the world to determine what eating and physical activity habits increased or decreased cancer risks. In 2007, they published their recommendations in the Food, Nutrition and Prevention of Cancer Report. In that report, they made the following 10 recommendations:

1. Be as lean as possible within a normal body weight range. Children should be kept from becoming overweight by providing them with healthy food and plenty or regular activity. Adults should not gain weight as they get older and waist size should be under 40 inches for men and under 35 inches for women.

2. Be physically active every day for at least 30 minutes. As you get more fit, increase to 60 minutes or continue to do 30 minutes of activity more vigorously. Limit inactivity such as watching TV or playing computer games.

3. Limit energy-dense foods; eat them sparingly if at all. Energy-dense foods tend to be higher in fat and sugar.

4. Eat mostly plant foods. The National Cancer Institute recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables for children, seven servings for women and nine servings for men. A serving of vegetables or canned or cut-fruit is one half cup or the size of a tennis ball. Have unprocessed grains and/or cooked beans and peas at every meal. Eat few refined starchy foods such as white bread, white rice or pasta.

5. Limit red meat and processed meats. Have less than 18 ounces of red meat each week and no processed meat if possible.

6. Limit alcohol. For cancer risk, no one knows a safe amount of alcohol to consume. Definitely do not drink more than one serving of alcohol per day if you are a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you are a man. One serving is five ounces of wine, a twelve-ounce light beer or 1 ½ ounces of distilled liquor.

7. Limit salt. Avoid salt-preserved, salted or salty foods. Preserve food without salt. Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. The new USDA guidelines recommend adults get no more than 1,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Many adults get closer to 4,000 milligrams of sodium every day. There is lots of room for improvement to reduce our sodium intake for better health.

8. Get your nutrients from food. Do not use nutritional supplements to prevent cancer. Cancer research seems to indicate that the combination of nutrients naturally found in food protects us from cancer -- not a single nutrient.

9. Breast-feed infants. This protects the mother from breast and possibly ovarian cancer and helps the baby not become overweight.

10. If you have survived cancer, follow these same recommendations to help prevent cancer from coming back.

Jan Baggarly is County Extension Coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences. She may be reached at 751-6338.

26 Sep, 2011

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