Cancer Prevention — Diet and Exercise

Jennifer’s family has a history of cancer. Her grandmother and great-aunt on her mother’s side had breast cancer, and her aunt on her father’s side had stomach cancer. While Jennifer’s parents are currently cancer-free, she worries that they will eventually have to battle the disease. She also wonders whether she might be the next in line to get cancer.

Fortunately, there are certain preventative steps an individual can take in order to reduce his or her risk of cancer. While these steps will not necessarily guarantee a cancer-free life, they can certainly lessen your chances of dying from the disease. Luckily, these recommendations are within the reach of most people, although they might require significant lifestyle changes.

To begin with, you should have a varied diet, rich in foods derived from plants. This means consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Also, you should eat whole grains instead of processed grains and reduce your intake of sugar. Another key element to your diet should be to go easy on high-fat red meats. You should also select food that will enable you to keep your weight under control. Now, while you have ultimate control over the food you eat, switching to a plant-based diet can be challenging. As a result, you might want to buy a cookbook that offers ways to spice up vegetarian offerings. That way, you’ll be able to eat food that is not only nutritious, but tasty as well.

Another key to cancer prevention is exercise. You should be engaging in exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week. In fact, if you increase your exercise to 45 minutes, you may significantly cut your risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. Children and teenagers should be even more physically active-they should plan for no less than an hour a day five days a week. One of the great advantages to exercise is that it can reduce your stress level, which can also help to reduce your cancer risk.

Yet another important way to reduce the likelihood that you will get cancer is to limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. There appears to be a connection between drinking and cancer. For instance, women who drink alcohol have been found to have an increased risk for breast cancer. Of course, another important step to take is to quit smoking, since there is an obvious link between tobacco and lung cancer.

In order to reduce your risk of skin cancer, you should limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight. You should steer clear of the sun from mid-morning to late afternoon, when the UV rays are strongest. Also, consider wearing sunblock, a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from the sun.

The next best thing to prevention is early detection. For women, this means regular mammograms after the age of 40. For both women and men, colonoscopies may be in order. Regular check-ups with your family physician can also enable you to find cancer before it spreads.

Cancer prevention is important for just about everyone, but particularly for people in high risk groups. By following these simple steps, you will decrease the chance that you will die from cancer. You also may end up feeling happier and healthier as a result of the changes you make in your diet and physical activity level.

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