October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
There are many reasons to choose to eat well and many benefits that can be gained from healthy food choices. Eating a plant based diet is one thing you can do to help lower your chances of getting cancer. Many plant foods are naturally low in calories and eating them can help you maintain a healthy body weight, which may be one of the most important ways to lower cancer risk. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes have fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that help keep your body and immune system strong.
Healthy eating recommendations are also encouraged to help lower your risk for other chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.). Start with one change and gradually add more, because even small changes in your food and activity choices can have positive benefits to your overall health.
The steps you can take:
- Make plant foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes) the focus of your plate and have meat as your accent.
- Choose lower fat (skim or 1%) dairy products
- Limit all added fats (oils, margarine, salad dressing) to 15-30ml/day (3-6 tsp)
- Leave high fat, salty snacks and sugary treats for special occasions, not every day foods
- Eat 2 servings or fish per week and cut back on the amount of red meat you eat
- If choosing to drink alcohol, limit it to 2 drinks/day for males and 1 drink/day for females
o 1 drink = 12oz (350ml) beer, 5 oz (150ml) wine, or 1 1/2 oz (45ml) of liquor/spirits
- Include regular physical activity – aim for 30 to 60 minutes per day of an activity you enjoy
- If you are not at a healthy weight, work towards gradual (1-2 lb/week or 0.5-1 kg/week) weight loss
Continue to choose whole foods more often and remember my three favourite words: VARIETY, MODERATION, and BALANCE.
Stephanie Wheler, RD
Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching
Dietitians of Canada, Eating Guidelines for Cancer Prevention – Diet and Cancer Prevention Basics, 2008.
Dietitians of Canada. Eating Guidelines for Cancer Prevention – Plant-Based Diet, 2008.