Cancer Prevention Through Nutrition & Exercise

February 16, 2024

Cancer is second on the list of leading causes of death, according to the CDC.   While medical advancements have improved treatment outcomes, prevention remains a critical part of combating this disease. One powerful avenue of prevention lies in our daily choices regarding nutrition and exercise. Here we will share some ways you can help to reduce your chances of a cancer diagnosis and also to promote your overall well-being.

Nutrition For Cancer Prevention

The food we eat plays a crucial role in protecting our bodies against cancer. Here are some dietary tips to consider.

Fruits and Vegetables

Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which support a healthy immune system and help combat cancer-causing agents.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat are rich in essential nutrients and fiber, and they can reduce the risk of various types of cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Limit Processed and Red Meats

Consuming processed and red meats has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal and other cancers. It is recommended to opt for lean proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, and legumes instead.

Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a higher risk of developing various cancers, such as breast, liver, and colorectal cancer. To decrease your risk of cancer it is recommended that you limit your alcohol intake.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is essential for good health. Make water your primary drink and avoid sugary beverages, which increase the risk of obesity and various cancers.  It is recommended that women drink about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day. 

Exercise For Cancer Prevention

Regular exercise is crucial not only for maintaining a healthy weight but also for cancer prevention. Here’s how it helps.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing various types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer. However, engaging in regular physical activity not only helps in maintaining a healthy weight but also actively reduces the risk of cancer associated with obesity.

Boost Immune Function 

Regular exercise improves immune function, defending against cancer and infections for better health and resilience.

Regulate Hormone Levels

Physical activity can help regulate hormone levels, such as insulin and estrogen. Elevated levels of these hormones can promote the growth of cancer cells.

Improve Digestive Health

Regular exercise can help with digestion and decrease the risk of digestive issues and cancers.

Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer development. Exercise helps reduce inflammation throughout the body, lowering cancer risk.

Healthy Habits To Incorporate Into Your Daily Life

Living a cancer-preventive lifestyle involves more than just diet and exercise. Here are additional lifestyle factors to consider.

Avoid Tobacco Products

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide. Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can significantly reduce the risk of cancer.

Protect Yourself Against Sun Exposure

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. You can protect your skin by using sunscreen, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing when outdoors.  If you are outdoors for extended periods, wear clothes with UV protection and wide-brimmed hats.

Get Regular Screenings

Early detection is paramount for effective cancer treatment. It’s important to follow recommended screening guidelines for different cancers, such as mammograms, Pap tests, and colonoscopies.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress weakens the immune system and increases cancer risk by contributing to inflammation. To mitigate such risk, it is recommended to practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.

By giving priority to good nutrition, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer while improving your overall well-being significantly. Remember, even small changes can lead to significant health benefits over time. It is always advisable to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance on cancer prevention strategies that are tailored to your individual needs. 

Here at GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we offer compassionate care for women at all stages of life.  Schedule your appointment here.