When people hear the word "cancer," they tend to stop in their tracks.
It is one chronic condition that affects everyone either personally or through a loved one. According to the World Health Organization, you can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers by 30 to 50% by changing diet and lifestyle.
Below are some examples of a few small changes you can make now that may build up over time to reduce risk.
Reduce or stop the use of tobacco
There are at least 70 different chemicals in tobacco smoke that are agents known to cause cancer.
A study about the health benefits of quitting smoking found that after five years of not smoking, your chances of mouth, throat, esophageal and bladder cancers are cut in half. After 10 years of not smoking, your survival of lung cancer is doubled compared to someone who is still smoking.
This shows that putting an end to cigarettes could save your life. It is also helpful to reduce or stop the use of other forms of tobacco besides cigarettes.
Add more activity to your day
A study in 2017 found that physical activity lowers your risk of developing 13 different cancers and even helps your chances of surviving cancer.
Activities like running, walking, and cycling raise your heart rate which helps you reach or maintain the best weight for you, keeps your hormones in a healthy range, and speeds up digestion.
These benefits help reduce the risk of cancer. It is recommended for adults to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in a week. Moderate intensity means breathing hard and slight difficulty talking. Just by walking at a fast pace for 30 minutes a day, you can lower your cancer risk substantially.
Make small changes to increase nutrition in diet
Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is linked to lower risk of developing cancer. Aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal and a quarter of your plate with whole grains.
Try to focus on eating more plant-based proteins, like beans and lentils. When you think about what kind of meat to eat, go for lean meats, like chicken, turkey, fish and lean beef.
Many of these changes take time and practice to become habits. Remember, small changes are big steps in the right direction.
Find ways that work for you to build in accountability and support as you make changes to reduce your risk of cancer.
Reference: World Health Organization. (2018).
Cancer prevention. Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/cancer/prevention/en/