6 Eating Habits to Develop During National Cancer Prevention Month

key takeaways

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
  • While there is no way to completely prevent cancer, adopting certain dietary habits may help reduce your risk.
  • February is National Cancer Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about cancer and how to prevent it. Including certain foods in your diet may help reduce your risk of cancer.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. The purpose of the commemoration is to help people learn how to take action and reduce their risk of cancer.

In 2021, an estimated 608,570 people in the United States will die from cancer. Given the statistics, finding ways to prevent the disease is a key area of ​​research.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, there are some lifestyle choices that can lower your risk.

How many people die of cancer each year?

cancer risk factors

Cancer is a complex disease with no single cause. Many factors affect your risk, including some beyond your control.

Risk factors that you cannot change are your age, your family history, and long-term exposure to certain chemicals, which can occur at your job or where you live.

However, research suggests that adopting certain lifestyle habits may reduce the risk of certain cancers. This means you can take a proactive approach to preventing cancer.

Some lifestyle habits associated with reducing cancer risk include:

  • Not smoking or using tobacco products
  • maintain your weight to support your health
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV rays) from the sun
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Reduce triggers of chronic inflammation (eg, fried foods, stress)

Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors

Dietary habits that may reduce cancer risk

No one diet can eliminate your risk of cancer, but some foods may help reduce your risk if you stick to them.

Are cancer-fighting foods effective?

Here are six eating habits that may help reduce your overall risk of cancer.

follow a plant-based diet

A plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to avoid meat entirely. Instead, most of your plate comes from plant sources, such as produce, beans, nuts, and legumes. Beef, dairy, eggs, and other animal-based foods can still be part of your overall diet—just in smaller amounts.

A 2013 study found that premenopausal women who ate 6 grams or more of soluble fiber per day had a 62 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate less than 4 grams of soluble fiber per day.

One cup of black beans contains about 6 grams of soluble fiber.

A 2019 study found that colon cancer rates are reduced when people eat a diet rich in plant foods phytochemicals Or plant metabolites with anticancer effects.

20 grams of fiber a day may improve outcomes for melanoma patients

adding garlic to meals

While garlic is known for imparting its unique flavor to dishes, a lesser-known benefit is that it may also help reduce the risk of cancer. Garlic is a natural source of a natural compound called allicin, which may have cancer-fighting properties.

A 2011 analysis of studies showed that consuming high levels of AllicinContaining vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of stomach cancer.

Can garlic reduce the risk of cancer?

Cruciferous Vegetable Crunch

Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, are nutrient-dense foods and a natural source of compounds called phytochemicals Sulforaphane. Some studies suggest that the compound has anticancer properties.

A 2019 study showed that eating certain cruciferous vegetables can clear more cancer-causing compounds from the body. This, in turn, is thought to reduce the chance of developing the disease.

In fact, a 2013 analysis of 35 studies found that eating cruciferous vegetables was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

CDC: Only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough produce

Choose olive oil as a fat source

Healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet. Olive oil, in particular, may help reduce the risk of cancer.

A large analysis of studies published in 2022 found that people who ate the most olive oil per day were 31 percent less likely to develop cancer than those who ate less olive oil.

Adding olive oil to your diet is as simple as drizzling it over vegetables or mixing it with olive oil salad dressings.

Can Olive Oil Help You Live Longer?

reduce drinking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of breast, liver, colorectal, esophageal, stomach, and oral cancers.

You may want to limit the total number of alcoholic beverages you drink in a day or stop drinking altogether. If you want to start cutting back, try a soda with fruit, try a fun “mocktail” recipe, or have a cup of tea.

How Alcohol Affects Your Risk of Lung Cancer

Limit processed meat

If your diet includes meat, limit processed options. Studies have linked the consumption of smoked, cured and cured meats with an increased risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meats, including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurters, as a Group 1 carcinogen. This means there is strong evidence that processed meat causes cancer, especially bowel and stomach.

While processed meats like sausage, salami, jerky, and bacon are delicious with cheese and crackers, look for unprocessed meats to add to your deli board.

Study shows red and processed meat limited in heart-healthy diet

Actively prevent cancer

Some factors that affect your risk of cancer in your life are beyond your control. However, there are steps you can take to proactively reduce your risk.

Lifestyle changes, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight for you, and getting physical are all steps you can take to reduce your cancer risk.

These choices will also support your overall health. The key is to be consistent and set goals to help you stick with these habits over the long term.

what does this mean to you

Some cancer risk factors, such as your age and family history, cannot be changed. However, your diet is one area where you can make choices to reduce your cancer risk.

Most Americans don’t eat cancer-fighting diets