Cancer Prevention Month
February is Cancer Prevention Month sponsored by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). The trifecta of cancer prevention remains weight management, exercise and eating healthy foods. This year, new research ranks fruit and vegetable choices as it related to nutritional value for a more specific guide to better eating.
Basics of Cancer Prevention
The choices we make every day affect our chances of getting cancer. Three factors that we control have a lot to do with our risk of developing this terrible disease.
How Much We Move
Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more
How Much We Weigh
Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life
What We Eat
Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat
For the greatest protection, combine all three.
Top 8 Cancer Prevention Tactics
- Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods high in added sugar, low in fiber or high in fat.
- Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
- Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
- If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.
- Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
- Choose a balanced diet with a variety of foods rather than taking supplements.
Foods that Help Fight Cancer
No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But strong evidence does show that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers.
FOODS CAN FIGHT CANCER BOTH DIRECTLY
In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers.
According to AICR/WCRF’s second expert report and its updates, carrying excess body fat increases the risk of seven cancers. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories, which help us get to and stay a healthy weight. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber and moderate in calories, which also help in weight management efforts.
That is why AICR recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.
Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach
National nutrition guidelines emphasize consumption of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk; yet efforts to define PFV are lacking. This study developed and validated a classification scheme defining PFV as foods providing, on average, 10% or more daily value per 100 kcal of 17 qualifying nutrients. Of 47 foods studied, 41 satisfied the powerhouse criterion and were more nutrient-dense than were non-PFV, providing preliminary evidence of the validity of the classification scheme. The proposed classification scheme is offered as a tool for nutrition education and dietary guidance.
This article describes a classification scheme defining PFV on the basis of 17 nutrients of public health importance per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine (ie, potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K)