10 Recommendations to Lower Your Risk

It is well known that giving up smoking and being sun smart can help prevent cancer, but did you also know that small changes to your nutrition and physical activity can also help lower your risk of developing cancer. 

 

With over 37,600 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Ireland every year, lifestyle changes have been proven to make a difference with up to a third of cancers preventable through diet and lifestyle changes.

 

Here we highlight evidence-based information about how 10 small lifestyle changes can make a big difference to our cancer risk. The 10 recommendations from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) are:

 

                                                   

 

                                                    

                                                                                                               

           

 

  1. BE A HEALTHY WEIGHT
  • Ensure that body weight during childhood and adolescence projects towards the lower end of the healthy adult BMI range.
  • Keep your weight as low as you can within the healthy range throughout life (BMI of 18.5–24.9).
  • Avoid Weight Gain Throughout Adulthood
  1. MOVE MORE
  • Be at least moderately physically active and follow or exceed national guidelines
  • Limit sedentary habits
  1. EAT MOSTLY WHOLEGRAINS VEG, FRUIT, & BEANS
  • Consume a diet that provides at least 30g per day of fibre from food
  • Include foods containing wholegrains, non-starchy vegetables, fruit and pulses (legumes) such as beans and lentils in most meals
  • Eat a diet high in all types of plant foods including at least five portions or servings (at least 400g or 15oz in total) of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruit every day
  • If you eat starchy roots and tubers as staple foods, eat non-starchy vegetables, fruit and pulses (legumes) regularly too if possible
  1. LIMIT FAST FOODS
  • Limit consumption of processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars – including ‘fast foods’; many pre-prepared dishes, snacks, bakery foods and desserts; and confectionery (candy)
  1. LIMIT RED MEAT & PROCESSED MEATS
  • If you eat red meat, limit consumption to no more than about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.
  1. CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
  • For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol
  • If you do consume alcoholic drinks, do not exceed national guidelines.
  1. LIMIT SUGARY DRINKS
  • Do not consume sugar sweetened drinks
  1. DON’T RELY ON SUPPLEMENTS
  • High-dose dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention – aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone
  • Unless otherwise advised, and if they can, all cancer survivors are advised to follow the Cancer Prevention Recommendations as far as possible after the acute stage of treatment
  1. BREASTFEED YOUR BABY, IF YOU CAN
  • The Expert Panel endorses the advice of the World Health Organization, which recommends infants are exclusively breastfed for six months, and then for up to two years or beyond alongside appropriate complementary foods.
  • There are special situations where breastfeeding is recommended with caution or is not advised, such as for mothers with HIV/AIDS.
  1. AFTER A CANCER DIAGNOSIS
  • All cancer survivors should receive nutritional care and physical activity guidance from trained professionals
  • Unless otherwise advised, and if they can, all cancer survivors are advised to follow the Cancer Prevention Recommendations as far as possible after the acute stage of treatment

 

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