A common question: “Is there a diet that can cure my cancer?” or “Is there a diet that can keep cancer from growing?”. Believe it or not, this is a complex question. Of course there are NO easy answers. While health and nutrition are considered science, it is definitely a field with a lot of unanswered questions!
Hopefully this article will give you an overview of the link between diet and cancer.
Cancer Prevention Diet:
The first, and most important thing to know is that there is no one single food or food substances can protect you against cancer. The same is true for a cancer cure. There is no one single food or food substances that can cure someone’s cancer.
However, we do know that there are lifestyle factors that can do 2 things:
1. Reduce your chances of getting cancer, or cancer coming back or growing.
2. Improve your quality of life (personal satisfaction with your life).
Diet is only one aspect of a cancer control lifestyle. Other lifestyle factors to consider include smoking, exercise, stress management, sun exposure, alcohol and others. Making good lifestyle choices is not a guarantee that you won’t get cancer, or that your cancer will go away but it can put the odds in your favor!
The good news is that there are no risks to eating healthy! Plus, a cancer fighting diet also helps fight heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and many other diseases. In other words… We have NOTHING to lose by making smart nutrition choices!
8 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention
The American Institute for Cancer Research published the Second Expert Report on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. It is an evidence based report giving recommendations based on current research. That’s not to say that in their next report, there may be some changes or additions. But this is what we know for now!
Here are the main take home points. Remember that cancer survivors are encouraged to following the same recommendations that we give for cancer prevention:
- Be physically active every day. I would aim for 30 minutes of vigorous activity or 60 minutes of moderate activity every day on average.
- Eat mostly foods of plant origin. These are the foods I call “Cancer Fighters”!
- Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat. These are the foods I call “Cancer Promoters”.
- Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than 1/day for women; 2/day for men. (1 drink = 1 oz. liquor, 12 oz. beer, or 5oz. wine).
- Limit consumption of salt. I feel like this topic is often overlooked. In upcoming articles, we’ll look more into this.
- Dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention. Aim to meet nutrition needs through food choices alone.
- Breastfeed infants exclusively up to 6 months and continue as they start eating food.
Until next time… Eat your fruits and veggies. 4-5 cups per day!