Nutrition-Bites-Healthy-Lifestyle-for-Cancer-Prevention

Nutrition Bites: Healthy Lifestyle for Cancer Prevention

With one-third of all cancer deaths related to poor diet and physical activity, it’s no surprise that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to cancer prevention. In fact, when asked the number one way to prevent cancer, Laura Kerns, a Registered Dietitian at University Medical Center and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition, keeps it simple, “Eat your fruits and vegetables! Research shows that consuming a plant-based diet with healthy fats, similar to the Mediterranean diet, is best for preventing cancer of all types.” Here’s how to incorporate the American Institute for Cancer Research cancer prevention guidelines into your lifestyle. Set a goal each month to adopt one of these guidelines below, and continue adding them throughout the year so you can gradually build up your healthy habits.

1. Maintain a healthy body weight
A healthy body weight is defined as a BMI between 18-24.9 for adults. Obesity is related to several types of cancers and contributes to 1 out of 5 cancer related deaths. To find out your BMI, visit www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-BMI.

2. Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, limit sedentary behaviors
Strength training exercises should be incorporated 2 days per week, and cardio activity should be moderate (walking or dancing) to vigorous (jogging or cycling).

3. Avoid sugary drinks, limit energy-dense foods
Liquid calories from sugary drinks can add up quickly. Avoiding soda, energy drinks, and fruit flavored beverages is the best way to keep off extra pounds. Similarly, energy-dense foods, like chips, cookies, and cake have a lot of calories but offer little to no nutrition. Focus on drinking water and consuming energy-dense foods in moderation.

4. Eat a plant-based diet including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and legumes such as beans and lentils
Research clearly highlights the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet containing a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and legumes. Not only are these foods low calorie, low fat, and high fiber, they also contain antioxidants. Antioxidants have been found to reduce the risk for cancer by protecting healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive cells produced through everyday activities, such as breathing and physical activity, or lifestyles choices, such as smoking. They may react with and cause damage to cell membranes and DNA which increases the risk for cancer. Antioxidants can be found in the following foods:
o Vitamin E – vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products
o Vitamin C – citrus fruits, strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes
o Carotenoids – tomatoes, carrots, spinach, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli

5. Limit red meat to no more than twice per week, and limit processed meat as much as possible
Red meat, such as beef and pork, is higher in cholesterol than most other meat. Elevated cholesterol can lead to many other health issues, like cardiovascular disease or stroke, as well as obesity. Similarly, most processed meats, such as ham, bacon and hot dogs, contain cancer-causing nitrites.

6. Cut back on alcohol consumption – no more than 1 drink per day for women, no more than 2 drinks per day for men
It is important to note that 1 drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1 ½ ounces of liquor.

7. Limit salty foods and foods processed with salts, like canned foods
High sodium intake of more than 2400 mg per day can cause harm to the lining of the stomach, causing stomach cancer. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no salt added” canned foods. For other items, look for low sodium indicated by 5% or less of sodium per serving on the nutrition label.

8. Do not use supplements to prevent cancer
While supplements and other products may seem like an easy way to get vitamins and minerals into the diet, research has shown that whole-foods offer the best protection from cancer.

9. When possible, exclusively breastfeed for up to 6 months
By lowering the cancer-related hormones in the mother’s body, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer while offering the best nutrition for the child.

10. If a cancer survivor, follow the recommendations for cancer prevention
For more cancer prevention tips, check out The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and The American Institute for Cancer Research.

By Kelsey Rosenbaum MS, RD, LDN

(Nutrition Bites is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and covers nutrition and health tips from Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD, LDN. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   diet , nutrition , food environment , food marketing , health communication

Other Related Posts

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement

Published: June 11, 2019

Our Movin for LIFE Guide to Community Health is ready! This Guide will be very helpful for residents interested in enhancing the health of the neighborhoods in which they live. The Guide is based on the Movin’ for LIFE activities over the last five years and contains information about community-wide health promotion activities, focus groups, community assessment and community engagement. This Guide is not to be missed. Better yet – come to our Make Your…

Read More

NOLA-LEADS-Publishes-Article-on-Community-Leadership-Trainings

NOLA LEADS Publishes Article on Community Leadership Trainings

Education & Engagement

Published: June 11, 2019

In an effort to increase community participation in civic and political activities to address health and promote health equity, Tulane Prevention Research Center faculty and Community Advisory Board partnered with Tulane School of Medicine to develop NOLA LEADS (Leadership Education and Action on Health Disparities). This program was designed to educate lay New Orleans community residents about improving community conditions and build leadership skills through addressing social determinants of health. The program’s curriculum built upon…

Read More

Movin-for-LIFE-Guide-to-Community-Health-Makes-Its-Debut

Movin’ for LIFE Guide to Community Health Makes Its Debut

Education & Engagement

Published: June 11, 2019

Over the past year, Tulane PRC faculty, staff, and community partners have worked together to write the Movin’ for LIFE Guide to Community Health. This Guide encourages the dissemination and replication of community-wide health promotion activities developed for Movin’ for LIFE, a community-based prevention/intervention and research program implemented initially in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. During the span of Movin’ for LIFE, a variety of physical activity activities were conducted, from Yoga for LIFE,…

Read More

Active-Steps-Keeping-Up-with-the-Summer-Slim-Down-on-the-Go

Active Steps: Keeping Up with the Summer Slim Down on the Go

Education & Engagement

Published: June 11, 2019

Summer is here and everyone is many are working towards their summer body physical activity goals. It can be a daunting task but with these easy tips and the right mindset, anything is achievable. You may find yourself with challenges, whether that’s staying active on a family trip you are trying to keep your fitness goals on track while traveling for business. Studies have shown that 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week…

Read More

Nutrition-Bites-Smart-Snacks-for-Crazy-Car-Trips

Nutrition Bites: Smart Snacks for Crazy Car Trips

Education & Engagement

Published: June 11, 2019

Car trips with the family can be stressful to begin with – not only on the mind, but on the body as well! With these simple tips, we hope to help take the guess work out of choosing smart snacks and drinks for on-the-go. In the Cooler: Fruit: Fruit can be easy on the go snacks because they typically require little preparation. Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, grapes, and pears are all great on the go…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement

Published: March 18, 2019

As I am sure most of our readers know by now, the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) will not be funded for another five years. This is very sad news for all of us here at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, but I am sure it is just as saddening for those of you who have worked with us and partnered with us for the past 20 years. Yes, the PRC has…

Read More

Health-Racism-and-Communication-Seminar-Series

Health, Racism, and Communication Seminar Series

Education & Engagement

Published: March 18, 2019

Starting this month, Tulane PRC will co-host the Spring 2019 Health, Racism, and Communication Seminar Series in collaboration with The Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH) and The Mary Amelia Douglas-Whited Women’s Community Health Education Center (MAC).  This seminar series works to educate attendees about communicating the influence of racism on health. 
 On Tuesday, March 19, Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH, Founder and Director of Sista Midwife Productions will address Social…

Read More

Associations-Between-Neighborhood-Park-Quality-and-Usage-Findings-from-a-Tulane-PRC-Study-

Associations Between Neighborhood Park Quality and Usage: Findings from a Tulane PRC Study

Education & Engagement

Published: March 18, 2019

In efforts to better understand factors that may impact physical activity levels of people in their neighborhoods, a study was done through the PRC to evaluate park quality and usage in lower income African American neighborhoods in New Orleans.   Based on prior research, neighborhoods have been classified as an important social determinant of health. “Neighborhood environments can play a role in one’s decision to engage in physical activity. Prior research has shown that lower…

Read More

Community-Partners-Update

Community Partners Update

Education & Engagement

Published: March 18, 2019

Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association (February 16th, 2019) On February 16th, the Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association hosted a green infrastructure workshop in partnership with Water Wise Gulf South at St. Mary of the Angel’s Church. The Green Infrastructure 101 Water Wise Workshop taught community members “do-it-yourself” solutions to reduce flooding while leaving the neighborhood looking beautiful. The event provided refreshments and raffle prizes, including rain barrels and a home assessment for Upper 9th Ward residents. Infrastructure…

Read More

Legislative-Update

Legislative Update

Education & Engagement

Published: March 18, 2019

New Orleans Food Policy Committee is very pleased with the changes recommended by the City Planning Commissions Small Box Store Study. The recommended changes make it much more accessible for residents to access fresh food while also giving food businesses and farmers an economic boost. For more information or to read through the report, check out the City Planning Commissions website or click here While the entire document is very interesting, the recommendations begin on…

Read More

canary