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Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Prevention

No one magic food can prevent cancer. And no one bad food will cause it. But a combination of certain foods can help and can even significantly reduce your risk of cancer. It’s important to look at the whole picture.

Fending off cancer with nutrition is the same as following a balanced heart-healthy diet. You’ll want to eat a lot of whole grains and fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Vary the fruits and vegetables so you’re not exposed to the same pesticides over and over again. Patients ask me whether they should buy organic foods. There’s no question they’re better for the environment but they haven’t been shown to provide more health benefits.

Carrying excess body weight increases your risk of certain cancer--of the breast, esophagus, pancreas, endometrium, kidney, colon and rectum. Heavy alcohol consumption can also spell trouble. Drinking has been linked to cancer of the breast, liver and colon and when combined with smoking, it raises the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus. At the same time, physical activity offers some protection against cancer, as well as against heart disease and diabetes.

Another question I get is about taking supplements. They’re not going to necessarily help. If I had to recommend a supplement, I would suggest a regular multivitamin not exceeding 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance.

Genetics is one of those factors you can’t do anything about. But remember—lifestyle factors such as your diet might make a big difference in helping you fight off cancer.

Change your behaviors and your diet--and you can minimize your risk of disease.

CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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