Each year, thousands of Americans continue to wage war with cancer, and many more have a family member undergoing treatment. Despite recent medical advances, cancer still remains the second most common cause of death in the nation. In 2014 alone, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
A healthy lifestyle is one of the most important ways to decrease your risk of getting cancer. A more nutritious diet can go a long way toward deterring this disease, according to Rita Krever, Dietitian for Cura Hospitality at the Hudson Valley Hospital’s Lindenbaum Cancer Center.
“Attain a healthy weight,” Krever urges. “The association of obesity and cancer is very strong.”
Here are five healthy eating habits to help deter cancer:
1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables: Enjoy five to eight brightly colored fruits and vegetables every day. These include apples, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, berries, pomegranates, spinach, and butternut squash.
2. Limit your intake of red meats (beef, lamb and pork) to twice a week. Avoid processed meats, including bacon, sausage, and bologna. Choose lean proteins such as chicken breast, fish, and turkey, as well as beans, lentils, nut butters, and seeds.
3. Choose fish that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids twice a week. These include: salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, trout and herring.
Hudson Valley Hospital patients learn to prepare healthy foods in the Hospital’s Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen.
4. Explore a high-fiber diet: Eat whole grains including oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa fruits, vegetables legumes, nuts, and seeds. Avoid white flour. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
5. Cut down on dairy foods. Men past the age of 40 should limit how much cheese and milk they consume and transition to non-dairy sources of calcium. Krever states, “Dairy calcium has been strongly associated with the development of prostate cancer, now the No. 1 cancer for men in America.”
These dietary suggestions are especially important for individuals who have a history of cancer in their family. If you are currently battling the disease, a better diet may improve your response to treatment and support your immune system. Eating more healthfully not only helps to fight cancer, it can improve your overall health and physical well being to ward off other diseases.
Krever urges you to take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center
1980 Crompond Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567