You Are What You Eat



You are what you eat!

Approximately one-third of cancer deaths that occur in the U.S. each year are due to poor nutrition and physical inactivity, including excess weight. Eating a healthy diet, being physically active on a regular basis, and maintaining a healthy body weight are as important as not using tobacco products in reducing cancer risk. This is actually good news, because these things are all within your control.

Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for developing many cancers, including cancers of t he breast in postmenopausal women, colon, endometrium, kidney, and adencarcinoma of the esophagus. Evidence is highly suggestive that obesity also increases risk for cancers of the pancreas, gallbladder, thyroid, ovary, and cervix, as well as for myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

So, what are you waiting for? Get up and get active!

The American Cancer Society recommends that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, in addition to usual activities, on 5 or more days of the week. 45 to 60 minutes is even better. And, children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days a week. Physical activity is associated with a 20-30% reduction in the risk of colon cancer, and studies show that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer, especially vigorous activity. Being active is thought to reduce cancer risk largely by improving energy metabolism and reducing circulating concentrations of estrogen, insulin, and insulin-like growth factors.

Now, what about food? A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and low in animal fat, meat, and calories is best. Limiting your intake of red and processed meats is important, as diets high in those things is associated with a higher risk of developing gastrointestinial cancers.

The American Cancer Society recommendations you:

• Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant sources.
• Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
• Choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains.
• Limit intake of processed and red meats.
• If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake.•Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men.
• Maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
• Balance calorie intake with physical activity.
•  Avoid excessive weight gain throughout life.
• Achieve and maintain a healthy weight if currently overweight or obese.
• Adopt a physically active lifestyle
.• Adults: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, above usual activities, on 5 or more days of the week; 45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity are preferable.
• Children and adolescents: Engage in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days per week.

Remember, you hold the power to keep yourself healthy by eating properly and exercising.  Use that power to think twice about taking care of your body no matter what season it is.  Eating healthy and exercising - and playing it safe in the sun - will help keep your body in good shape for the rest of your life.  You’re body will thank you when you’re older if you take care of it now. 

Click here to find interactive tools, quizzes, and videos to help you learn more about ways to lower your risk of cancer or find it early.