Happy fall, everyone!
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and in keeping with our theme of transformation, we are highlighting the benefits of diet and exercise as they relate to your cancer risk.
Other than quitting smoking, the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk are: Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life, be physically active on a regular basis, and make healthy food choices with an emphasis on plant-based foods. Each year, more than 572,000 Americans die of cancer, and about 1/3 of these deaths are linked to poor diet and physical inactivity.
Being overweight causes the body to produce more estrogen and insulin- both hormones that can stimulate cancer growth. Being physically active for at least 150 minutes a week can help your body combat the risk for not only weight gain, but also many kinds of cancer. The more physically active you are, the more benefits you will see!
Managing your diet is another essential part of weight maintenance and cancer risk-reduction. Adults should consume at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Plants contain antioxidants and cancer-fighting compounds called polyphenols. Incorporating fruits and veggies into each snack is a great way to meet the daily quota, and avoid the typical sugary, fatty office temptations. The latter may satisfy temporarily, but can leave you feeling tired by the end of the day.
Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will also curb your cravings for nutrient-poor foods. Healthy fats include: Olive oil, flax seed oil, coconut oil, and the fat found in nuts, avocado, and fish. Plant-based fats are powerful cancer fighters that are an essential part of every diet.
Overall, you cannot control every aspect of your cancer risk, but diet and exercise are two factors that only you have complete control over. Your health is a reflection of your habits, and cultivating good patterns can set you on the path to disease reversal. It’s never too late to start!