Heart Healthy Living: It’s Also Cancer Prevention Living

Don’t be surprised if the next time you get your cholesterol tested, your doctor talks to you about a plant-based diet – vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. New guidelines released yesterday for heart healthy living highlight that how you eat and move for heart health are what we know can also help you prevent cancer. dreamstime_xs_32027497

These new evidence-based  guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) include lifestyle, drug and obesity management recommendations. They come from expert task forces convened by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

For the first time, the recommendations for heart healthy eating focus on overall eating patterns, rather than just saturated fat or sodium. That’s good news, because examples they give, such as DASH and Mediterranean diets, are plant-based eating patterns. They also align with AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention, including limiting sugary beverages, red meat and salt/sodium.

Here are key take-aways from the new heart health guidelines: Continue reading


Lighten Your Load: Eating a Healthful, Low Glycemic Load Diet

You may have heard about our report yesterday on endometrial cancer: physical activity and coffee help protect against the cancer, but excess body fat and a high-glycemic-load (GL) diet increase risk.dreamstime_xs_33021083_small

I talk about what glycemic load means here – basically, it’s a measure of how much a food increases your blood sugar. But how would you know if your diet is high or low GL?

There are a lot of glycemic load charts out there that compare foods. However, using glycemic load to select your foods doesn’t mean you will necessarily have a healthful or cancer preventive diet. (Meats and fats don’t contain carbohydrates, so they are not even listed on the GL charts.)

So what should your plate look like to make it fit the low-glycemic-load and cancer protective recommendations? It looks a lot like our New American Plate. Here are four easy steps to making your plate fit a low-glycemic-load diet – all just by looking at your plate.

1.  Put Plant Foods on Your Plate

Watery vegetables, whole fresh fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts are low to moderate GL and they’re packed with cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Try this: Make a burrito with whole-wheat tortillas, pinto beans, red peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with a mango salsa. Continue reading


A Normal BMI Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

bigstock_waist measuring for Karen_1421303You’ve probably heard about BMI (body mass index) and may even have used AICR’s calculator to learn what your BMI is.

BMI is based on a height and weight formula and is one simple way to estimate how much body fat you have. That’s important to know because too much body fat increases risk for many common cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But a recent article in Science, suggests that almost one of ten Americans may have a normal BMI and still be at risk for chronic diseases typically lined to obesity.

BMI is a strong predictor of health risk in population studies, and obesity clearly increases risk for seven types of cancers and other chronic diseases. However, on an individual basis, the picture is more complex and depends on your metabolic health. Continue reading