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10 Tips To Prevent Cancer-00-5031

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Lisa Cooney, Head of Education for WCRF, separates fact from fiction. At World Cancer Research Fund, we put together a report that looked at all the evidence on the links between cancer and diet, physical activity and weight and condensed it into something people can incorporate into their daily routine.

It was quite a task and took five years, involving an independent international Panel of experts and teams of researchers who sifted through 500,000 studies and then analysed the 7,000 most relevant. In the end, the expert Panel came up with 10 recommendations that are the best advice anywhere about how you can reduce your risk of cancer.

Our 10 recommendations:

1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight

The evidence linking obesity and cancer is now stronger than ever before. In fact, scientists now say that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention. It's best to aim to be at the lower end of the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range.

2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes everyday

Not only does ...
... physical activity itself help to lower cancer risk it can also help us to maintain a healthy weight.

Being moderately physically active for 30 minutes every day is a good starting point, but research shows that, to avoid weight gain, we should aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate activity everyday, or 30 minutes or more of more vigorous activity.

3. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods, particularly foods high in added sugar, or low in fibre, or high in fat.

Choosing healthy foods and drinks instead of those that are energy-dense (typically high in fat, sugar and calories) can help us maintain a healthy weight and reduce our risk of cancer.

4. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, wholegrains and pulses, such as beans.

When preparing your meal aim to fill at least two thirds of your plate with plant foods like fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, lentils and cereals. Also, opt for wholegrain options wherever possible. These foods contain plenty of fibre and other nutrients, which can reduce our risk of cancer. And of course, we should always aim for at least five portions of a range of fruits and vegetables every day.

5. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.

The link between red and processed meat and bowel cancer is convincing, so we recommend eating no more than 500g (cooked weight) per week of red meat and avoiding processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami, sausages and hot dogs.

6. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.

For cancer prevention, it is best to not drink alcohol at all. However, modest amounts of alcohol may have a protective effect for heart disease. So if you do drink alcohol, limit consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.

7. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium)

Consuming too much salt can increase risk of stomach cancer as well as high blood pressure and we recommend limiting consumption to 6g per day.

8. Don't use supplements to protect against cancer

Rather than taking supplements, the best source of nourishment is a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In fact, some high-dose supplements can actually increase risk of certain cancers.

9. It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods.

If you are able to, aim to breastfeed your baby exclusively up to the age of six months, with complementary feeding from then on. Evidence shows that breastfeeding can help protect mothers from cancer and babies from excess weight gain.

10. After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

For cancer survivors, the best advice is to follow the recommendations for diet, healthy weight and physical activity, if they are able to do so.

About the Author:

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is a charity dedicated to http://www.wcrf-uk.org/index.php For information on a http://www.wcrf-uk.org/preventing_cancer/index.php, visit the WCRF website.

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