Cancer prevention: dietary tips to reduce your risk

Research has found that what you choose to put into your body (food and drinks) can impact your health positively or negatively.

CANSA recommends planning balanced meals & cutting down on and even eliminating intake of food or beverages which research has proved to increase cancer risk and / or risk for other non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension. Healthy food preparation methods and ensuring your foods are safe to eat also plays a big role.

Smart food choices include:

  • Eating a minimum of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day that are in season.  Make sure that you eat a lots of different types and colours of fruits and vegetables to ensure your body gets all the different nutrients that it needs.  Aim to eat half a plate of vegetables with meals and snack on fruits in-between.
  • Choose whole-grains rather than processed starches, because these are higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals and therefore healthier to eat.
  • Increase your fiber intake by eating fruits and vegetables with skins and pips and eating mostly whole grain starches.  Check food labels for CANSA Smart Choices to ensure you are choosing the healthiest option.
  • Prepare your food mostly without fats – boiling, steaming, or baking.  When you are planning to fry foods, choose canola oil with a high smoke point (230 C), it is very high in omega-3 fatty acids and has got the best ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 (2:1).  Be Well and Continental Canola Oil as well as Canola Margarine products (these are also trans fat free) are CANSA Smart Choices.
  • When you are thirsty drink plenty of clean, safe water instead of sugar cold drinks or flavoured drinks.   Rooibos tea is a healthy alternative to water because it is high in antioxidants, low in tannins and free from caffeine.  Drinking lots of fluids are important for digestive health, prevents constipation, and is needed in the body to dissolve and transport nutrients.

For more information visit a registered dietitian in your area (find one at www.adsa.org) or go to www.cansa.org.za for more information.

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