Today is February 1st. Do you know what month it is? Not a trick question – this is a very important time for us all here at AICR as February is National Cancer Prevention Month. That means 29 days to shine a spotlight on the need for Americans to embrace and make healthy lifestyle changes to protect their health and reduce their cancer risk – and we are determined to make each day count.
It’s important to us because although there are huge strides being made in cancer treatment with new drug discoveries and precision medicine, these are expensive and come with their own challenges. We have a public health crisis — the number of cancer cases due to obesity and lack of physical activity will reportedly surpass those due to tobacco in 20 years. Prevention has the potential to save costs and suffering — and we need to think broadly about it as an effective strategy.
The chances are that if you are reading this blog, you already know about and take some steps to reduce your own cancer risk as part of your daily life. You might already know that an estimated one-third of US cancer cases could be prevented by eating healthy along with being active and a healthy weight. Many more could be prevented by not smoking and using sun protection. Maybe you try one of our health–e recipes, count your steps or watch your portion sizes on a regular basis. So are we simply preaching to the choir? Continue reading
You probably know fruits and vegetables are packed with all kinds of nutrients, and compounds linked to good health. One of the biggest groups of these compounds or phytochemicals are the flavonoids, and we talk about them a lot here because they’re studied for their role in lowering cancer risk.
Now comes a large and long-term study that suggests eating plenty of berries, pears, peppers and other fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids may help you avoid weight gain as you age. That can help prevent overweight or obesity, and that’s a big deal for cancer prevention.
The study, published in BMJ, included almost 124,000 people who were part of three population studies that were looking at habits and health. Back in 1986, participants had reported what they were eating, along with other lifestyle habits, such as smoking and activity. They also reported how much they weighed. Every couple years every again filled out questionnaire about their eating habits, using a detailed list of foods, along with weight and illness. Continue reading
Just in time for your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose weight, US News published Best Diets 2016, a comprehensive review of diets of all kinds, including for overall health, weight loss and chronic disease prevention. They didn’t include lowering cancer risk in their analysis, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the highest ranking diets would work well with AICR’s New American Plate model – designed for reducing risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
They asked experts in nutrition and weight loss to rate – using the research behind them – how strong the diets are for long and short term weight loss, nutrition, safety, preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease, and how easy it is to follow. The DASH diet (to lower hypertension)won in the most categories, with Weight Watchers ranking highly too. Others scoring well were a diet for brain health (MIND) and for lowering cholesterol (TLC). Continue reading