For Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Reduce Risk by Improving Your Diet

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

This is the third October Fit Talk blog post dedicated to increasing awareness of disease prevention.

Research shows that as many as one third of cancer illnesses and deaths are linked to physical activity and diet – two things you have the power to change!

Not many people can overhaul their diet habits overnite and sustain the change long term.  However, everyone can take small steps by eliminating bad choices and replacing them with healthy ones.  Work some of the recommendations below into your lifestyle and you will make a difference in your health.

1.Eat less red meat.  Much research suggests that diets high in red meat pose an increased risk for colon cancer.  Eliminate processed meats like bacon, sausage and pepperoni.  Occasionally replace red meat with a choice such as fish, chicken or beans.

2. Limit alcohol.  Alcohol is a known cause of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast and liver.  Minimize consumption whenever possible.  Men should drink no more than two drinks per day and women no more than one drink per day.  Alcohol is also full of empty calories.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.  Plant foods provide antioxidants which are believed to control the growth and spread of cancer cells.  Vitamins, minerals and fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains also help repair DNA and control cell growth.  These foods also have the benefit of being low in calories.

4. Limit sodium.  Consuming excess salt is known to increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  Salt intake should be controlled wherever possible.  Processed and fast foods are typically high in salt and should be minimized.

Bottom Line Eating a healthy diet is within your control and the rewards are potentially life-saving!  While not all disease is preventable, certainly there are some factors you have control over… and your diet is a big one.  Eating healthy is not an all-or-nothing proposition.  However, taking small steps to live more healthfully is a change worth making.

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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