If you’re anything like me, you’re probably trying to implement some healthy habits this summer to reduce stress, increase your happiness and live a healthier life. There is a good chance that these habits will also prevent your risk for developing several types of cancers.
Research has discovered some of the causes of cancer — like the sun’s ultraviolet rays and cigarette smoke — but many causes of cancer are unknown. While cancer is still a mystery, scientists agree that lifestyle changes play a role in cancer prevention.
In fact, the American Cancer Society shows that one-third of the most common cancers can be prevented by implementing the lifestyle changes listed below.
#1 Achieve a healthy weight.
The latest cancer research says that being overweight or obese increases the risk for 13 different types of cancer. It’s unhealthy to try and achieve a number on a chart. Rather, “a healthy weight” can be defined as the weight you achieve and maintain with healthy eating and regular physical activity.
It’s also important to note that the fat around your waist is more dangerous than the fat on other parts of your body. Therefore, women should aim for a waist size less than 35 inches and men should keep their waist size under 40 inches.
#2 Eat a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet simply means filling your plate with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while also choosing plant-based proteins, seafood and poultry over other meats. Research shows that eating too much red and processed meats increases your chances of getting 11 different types of cancer.
There is a very strong link between a diet heavy in red and processed meats and colon cancer, specifically. Because of the risks, the American Cancer Society recommends eating less than 18 ounces of red meat (beef and pork) per week and avoiding all processed meats like bacon, ham and lunch meats.
#3 Drink little or no alcohol.
Alcohol is associated with an increased risk for six cancers, and even drinking a small amount daily increases the risk of breast cancer in women. All types of alcohol seem to have the same effect on cancer risk. It’s recommended for women to have no more than one serving per day of alcohol and for men to have no more than two servings per day.
#4 Be active as much as possible throughout the day.
You can decrease your risk for 13 cancers just by increasing your physical activity. Remember to SIT less and MOVE more! It’s recommended that adults have at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity five or more days per week.
It’s easy to not think about cancer until someone receives the diagnosis. Let’s be proactive this summer and practice daily lifestyle habits that will help prevent cancer so we can live a longer, healthier life.