Role of diet in prevention

Eating a diet low in fat and high in fiber can reduce the risk of various diseases, including certain cancers. Many studies have suggested that specific nutrients can help prevent cancer. For example, lycopene (a pigment found in red fruits) and the Prostate cancer is a cancer of the prostate gland and one of the most common cancers found in men.mineral selenium may play a role in averting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Other vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D are being studied continually for their role in cancer prevention as well. Because most research into diet and cancer is preliminary, the ACS recommends that individuals consume a variety of healthful foods – especially those derived from plant sources, which are packed with vitamins and fiber.

Dietary guidelines for cancer prevention include the following:

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. These foods are rich in antioxidant nutrients, which are believed to protect against cancer. Suggestions to achieve this guideline include:
    • Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables.
    • Include fruits and vegetables at every meal.
    • Replace unhealthy snacks with fruits and vegetables.
      Prepare vegetables in a healthy manner (e.g., limit consumption of fried potato chips and french fries).
    • Drink only 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined (processed) grains and sugars.

    Select whole-grain breads, pasta, rice and cereals.
    • Limit consumption of carbohydrates that are refined, including white bread, soft drinks, sweetened cereals, pastries and sugars.
  • Limit consumption of red meat, especially processed meats and those high in fat.
    • Replace beef, lamb or pork with poultry, fish or beans.
    • Select lean cuts of meat.
    • Consume smaller portions of meat (less than 3 ounces a day).
    • Prepare meat by baking, poaching or broiling instead of charbroiling or frying.

  • Select foods that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

    Choose foods low in calories, fat and sugar when dining out.
    • Avoid oversized portions, especially when dining out.
    • Consume smaller portions of foods that are high in calories. Individuals should be aware that foods labeled “low fat” or “fat free” often contain many calories.
      Replace calorie-dense foods, such as pizza, cheeseburgers and ice cream, with fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie items.
    • Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages (one drink per day for women, two for men). The relationship between alcohol and cancer is not yet fully understood. Experts theorize that alcohol itself, or the way it is metabolized in the body, may have a carcinogenic effect. In addition, alcohol may increase certain hormone levels which are associated with a higher cancer risk.

Additionally, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that individuals limit salt intake and consume 35 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. It helps prevent colorectal cancer, promotes weight loss, reduces cholesterol levels and offers other health benefits.

Colorectal cancer

People often underestimate the portion size of healthy foods. Examples of a single serving include:

  • Fruits:

    • One medium apple, banana or orange

      1/2 cup (0.12 liter) of chopped, canned or cooked fruit
    • 3/4 cup (0.18 liter) of fruit juice with no added sugar

  • Vegetables:
    • One cup (1/4 liter) of leafy vegetables (raw)
    • 1/2 cup of other chopped vegetables (raw or cooked)
    • 3/4 cup of vegetable juice with no added sugar

  • Grains:
    • 1 ounce (28 grams) of cereal (cold)
    • 1/2 cup of cereal (cooked), pasta or rice
    • One slice of bread

  • Beans/nuts:
    • 1/2 cup of dry beans (cooked)
    • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup (0.08 liter) of nuts

  • Dairy/eggs:
    • One cup of yogurt or milk
    • One egg
    • 1-1/2 ounces (43 grams) of cheese (natural)
    • 2 ounces (57 grams) of cheese (processed)

  • Meats:
    • 2 to 3 ounces (57 to 85 grams) of lean poultry, fish or meat (cooked

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