5 top tips on food lifestyle to prevent cancer.

Lowering your risk of getting cancer can be done by things you can control: diet ,weight and physical activity.This can prevent up to 1/3 of most common cancers. When it comes to your diet: eat more plant based food, limit foods high in added fat,sugar and salt,eat less red meat and avoid processed meats.limit alcohol, choose foods rather than vitamin and mineral supplements,work towards or stay a healthy body size and be active and set SMART goals-specific,measurable,action orientated, realistic and timely.

Here are 5 simple tips to lowering your risks:

1.Eating a healthy balanced varied diet may lower your risk of developing cancer. Eat more plant based food include fruit,wholegrain,legumes( lentils,beans and peas),nuts and seeds.These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals and cancer protective, they are satisfying to help you lower your calories and make it easier to stay a healthy weight.A healthy balanced diet contains:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables: try to eat at least five portions a day

  •  Plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods: choose wholegrain foods where possible as these contain more fibre

  • Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

  •  Some milk and dairy foods

  • Just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat or sugars, such as cakes, crisps and biscuits

 Evidence consistently suggests that eating plenty of fibre can reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Diets high in fibre can help keep your bowel healthy and prevent constipation.

 Fibre-rich foods include wholegrain pasta, bread, breakfast cereals and rice. Pulses, fruit and vegetables are also good sources of fibre. Have fresh as much as possible. If possible do not not reheat.

 Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, such as iron and zinc. But evidence shows that there is probably a link between eating red and processed meat, and the risk of bowel cancer. People who eat a lot of these meats have a higher risk of getting bowel cancer than people who eat small amounts.

 Beef, pork and lamb are all red meat. Processed meats include bacon, sausages, salami and ham are high in nitrates and possibly plastic bottled water (Check labels). Limit consumption of charcoal-broiled or smoked meat or fish.

 If you eat more than 90 grams of red or processed meat a day (the equivalent of about three thin-cut slices of roast beef, lamb or pork, where each slice is about the size of half a piece of sliced bread), it is recommended that you cut down to 70 grams. Eat fish, chicken, turkey. Avoid large fish e.g. sword fish, shark, tinned tuna as these may contain excess mercury.

Avoid supplements of beta-carotene, iron tablets , copper or vitamins and minerals unless recommended by your doctor. Cancer cells can thrive on iron, copper stimulates the production of new blood vessels to help cancer cells multiply and synthetic beta carotene have been shown to increase cancer rates.

Avoid hot drinks as associated with cancer of the oesophagus and limit alcohol to 1-2 units per day. Alcohol is associated with cancer of the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, liver and breast. Green tea has been shown to have cancer preventative properties. Coffee 1-2 cups /day has been associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer

2. Maintaining a healthy weight

In England, over 60% of the population is overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of some cancers, such as:

  •  bowel cancer

  •  pancreatic cancer

  •  oesophageal cancer

  •  breast cancer if you are a woman who has been through the menopause

  •  cancer of the womb (uterus)

  • kidney cancer

Numerous studies have shown obesity increases the risk of some cancers. Try to lose weight if you are overweight.

3. Stopping smoking

 Lung cancer is responsible for around a quarter of cancer deaths in the UK, and 90% of lung cancer cases are related to smoking.

 "Stopping smoking greatly cuts the risk of developing cancer," says Hazel Nunn, Cancer Research UK's health information officer. "The earlier you stop, the greater the impact. But it's never too late to quit. People who quit smoking at 30 live nearly as long as non-smokers, and those who quit at 50 can still undo half the damage."

 There is support to help you stop smoking. If possible avoid passive smoking.

4. Protect your skin from sun damage

 Taking care in the sun so that you don't get burned is important for preventing skin cancer. Follow Cancer Research UK's Sun Smart plan to protect yourself:

 Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.

 Make sure you never burn.

 Cover yourself up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.

 Take care not to let children get burned.

 Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

Keep an eye on any moles or freckles you have. If they change at all (for example, get bigger or begin bleeding), see your GP as this can be an early sign of cancer. The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible.

We need sunlight on our skin so that our bodies can produce vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. Read about sunlight and vitamin D to find out how much sunlight you need.

5. Know your body

It's important to know your body and recognise any changes, such as lumps or unexplained bleeding, and to get advice about whether they might be serious.

Regular exercise such as brisk walking can help you avoid cancer.Start with at least 10 minutes every day.

Adapted from reference- NHS choices


PEN- Global resource for nutrition BDA

For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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