Cancer prevention starts with your diet. These surprising dietary modifications are easy—and important—to make.
Are you doing everything you can to help prevent cancer? You may already eat a balanced diet, avoid cigarettes, skip the tanning bed, exercise, and keep your weight in the healthy range. But there may be some surprising risk factors that you can modify in your day-to-day life. Eat less red meat, and avoid processed meat You don’t have to go vegan to reduce your cancer risk—just cut back on red meat, and steer clear of processed meats, such as deli meats or hotdogs. Meat processing can form cancer-causing compounds called nitrates. Red meat refers to beef, pork, and lamb. Instead, choose turkey or chicken, and eat plenty of fish—it’s packed with healthy omega-3 fats! Reduce your salt intake In general, we eat way too much salt! A high salt intake has been linked to stomach cancer. We might think that if we don’t salt our foods we’re okay, but that’s only part of the story. Restaurant food, processed foods, and pre-packaged foods are notoriously high in sodium, so always choose whole foods and cook from scratch whenever possible. When that’s not possible, read ingredients and nutrition facts carefully—especially the portion sizes, which can sometimes be deceiving. Don’t cook at high heat Strange as it may sound, cancer-causing compounds can sometimes be formed when meat is cooked at a high temperature, such as by barbecuing, frying, or broiling. Instead, opt for steaming, roasting, or poaching when possible. Avoid sugary drinks Although soft drink companies don’t agree, health experts argue that not all calories are created equal: regularly consuming sugar-sweetened beverages contributes to weight gain. It may be partly because liquid calories are so easy to consume in high amounts without feeling full. Instead of opting for artificial sweeteners, choose water.