More for Men’s Health Month: Simple Changes for Prevention

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Last week on our blog, Dr. Kate Wolin talked about screening for preventing two of the leading causes of cancer deaths in men. Guys, in addition to screenings there’s more you can do: Take charge and reduce your cancer risk (and other chronic diseases) before and after you go for those screenings.

Here’s how:

  • Get moving. Physical activity reduces risk for colorectal cancer and it’s a lot more fun than a colonoscopy. Dust off the old tennis racquet, invest in a good pair of running shoes or take the family to the park and break out the Frisbee and football.
  • Eat more fruit. Watermelon, red grapefruit and guavas (also tomatoes, especially sauce and juice) are great choices because they contain a carotenoid called lycopene. Foods with lycopene can help reduce risk of prostate cancer. And fruits in general help lower risk for lung and oral cancers.
  • Lose the Spare Tire.  Too much body fat ups your risk for colorectal, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic and gallbladder cancers. And, that expanding waist adds risk for some cancers and for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Start with one change, like cutting your sugary beverages in half or filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables first (think carrots, spinach or bell peppers). Then add a new healthy eating challenge each week. For ideas check out our 12-week New American Plate Challenge program.
  • Be Smart about Alcohol. Too much beer, wine or liquor and you’ve added more risk for colorectal, oral, esophageal and liver cancers. If you drink, limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks a day.

Whether you’re a dad, uncle, grandfather, son or nephew, taking care of yourself means you’re more likely to be able to take care of those who depend on you better and longer. Just a few simple steps can make all the difference.

Learn more about preventing cancer here.

A Colorful, Healthy Backyard Barbecue

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Grilling season is here. Backyard barbecues and picnics take center stage this weekend and beyond for family and friends’ gatherings.

But what you put on the grill and how you cook it can potentially affect your cancer risk.

Typical grilling fare includes burgers, hot dogs, steaks and sausages. However, eating processed meat and too much red meat is linked to higher rates of colorectal cancer. And using high heat to cook meat, poultry or fish, or charring it, leads to formation of cancer causing compounds, called HCAs and PAHs.

Put together a healthier barbecue that minimizes the risk but maximizes the flavor. Here you can read about 4 strategies to do that: Think low and slow, marinate the meat, partially precook and sizzle with fruits and veggies.

Grill up a menu that helps you and your guests follow a cancer-protective diet the New American Plate way: fill at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes and 1/3 or less with animal foods. Grilling vegetables brings out their sweetness and adds color to your spread.

Asparagus – Plunge spears into boiling water for 1 minute. Blot dry with paper towels. Line up 3-4 spears like soldiers and insert a toothpick through them 1-inch below the tips. Insert another toothpick 1-inch above the bottom. Brush lightly with olive oil. Grill for 2 minutes, turn and grill 2 minutes. Read more… “A Colorful, Healthy Backyard Barbecue”

AICR Fact Check: Fiber and Cancer?

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Heard a great story about fiber on NPR this morning, all about how food manufacturers add fiber to things like sugary cereals and white bread so they can make claims about fiber and health on the packaging.

We’re pleased that the story makes the point that foods that are naturally high in fiber — vegetables and fruits, whole grains and beans — are better options, but then we heard something that brought us up short:

So are these fiber-fortified foods actually making you healthier? This question turns out to be one of those places where scientists know a lot less than you may think they do. For example, a lot of people think that fiber will help protect you against colon cancer. But so far, that link is not conclusive.

In this case, it’s “a lot of people” who are right, and NPR who’s … well, not wrong, exactly, but imprecise.

Because the evidence that diets high in fiber can and do protect against colorectal cancer is not only strong, it’s just gotten stronger. And with February being Cancer Prevention Month, it’s a good opportunity to remind people of the hard science showing that they can protect themselves from colorectal cancer.  Read more… “AICR Fact Check: Fiber and Cancer?”