A new study found that American adults have better diets compared to years past, which is good news for cancer prevention. People are eating more whole grains and drinking fewer sugary beverages, for example.
Yet when looking at how our diets compare to what’s recommended, we actually have a long way to go (see chart). Here’s a few ways you can eat healthier – while eating a cancer-protective diet.
Whole grains can lower your colorectal cancer risk, but fewer than 2 out of every 10 people are meeting the recommendation of 3 or more servings per day. Watch our 1-minute video to learn more about the benefits of whole grains. Then, try quick cooking grains like bulgar, whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, and whole-grain pasta as a side dish for your next dinner.
Sugary beverages are linked to overweight and obesity, which increases your risk for 11 cancers. Over half of Americans are still drinking 3 or more sugary drinks a week, the study found. Choose water most often, or unsweetened tea and coffee instead of a sugary drink. Also, see our newest health talk on lemonade, just in time for summer.
Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, all of which help keep you healthy and lower your cancer risk. Still, people are only eating about half of the minimum recommended amount of vegetables and fruit.
Try adding fruit to your breakfast every day to meet the goal of at least 1.5 cups per day – it’s perfect with cereal, oatmeal, or even on the side. At lunch time, fill your sandwiches with veggies or toss some into your soup to eat 2 cups, minimum, each day.
Processed meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer, even in small amounts eaten regularly. AICR recommends avoiding processed meat, like hot dogs or cold cuts, but the majority of Americans still eat it more than twice a week. Use fresh chicken or fish instead of packaged deli meats. Try hummus or black bean spreads on sandwiches
To keep working on your personal goals and towards a cancer-protective eating style, sign up for AICR’s upcoming New American Plate Challenge.
Kaila Schoenberger is an Education & Communication Intern at AICR. She is an MPH/RD candidate from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She believes in preventing cancer by encouraging simple ways for people to eat well and be active.