Reducing Your Cancer Risk: What You Eat Makes a Difference

  • author name Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN
Mushrooms being sliced

Making some simple diet and lifestyle changes could greatly reduce your risk of developing cancer. Just remember your A-B-Cs.

Aim For  Healthy Weight

Strive to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life. According to the National Cancer Institute, if every adult reduced his or her Body Mass Index (BMI) by one percent—an average of a little more than two pounds—about 100,000 new cases of cancer would be avoided. Being overweight or obese has been linked to a variety of cancers, including breast, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney, and pancreas. It’s likely that being overweight or obese contributes to other cancers too.

Be Active

Try to be active for at least 30 minutes every day. Regular exercise alone can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of colon, breast and uterine cancers.

Here’s how...

Limit your sedentary behavior by monitoring how much you sit, watch TV, or engage in screen-based activities. And if you have a stationary bicycle or treadmill, use it when you watch TV.

Do little things to work physical activity into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to talk to your co-workers instead of phoning or sending an e-mail. Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps daily.

Even if you haven’t been physically active, you’ll benefit from doing something. Besides weight control, physical activity reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Consume a Plant-Based Diet

Eating a a mostly plant-based diet--at least five servings a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans--can help fight many types of cancer. Choose plant foods with different, intense colors.

  • Broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables may lower the risk of breast, stomach and lung cancers.
  • Carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, and other foods with carotenes also may reduce the risk of lung and other cancers.
  • Tomatoes have lycopene, which may stop cancer cells from multiplying. They also may cut the risk of stomach, colon, and prostate cancer.
  • Orange and grapefruit juices contain flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and may keep cancer cells from growing.

It’s also important to limit your intake of processed meat and red meat, choose whole grains instead of refined grains, and limit your alcohol consumption.

LG Health offers many options for weight loss and healthy weight management, including group classes, medically supervised programs, and surgical options.

author name

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN

Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN, is a wellness dietitian with Lancaster General Health Corporate Wellness.

Education: Janelle Glick holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and a M.A. in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. Her special areas of interest include weight management and health coaching.

Call: 717-544-3527

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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