Experts think that nearly one in ten UK cancer cases are caused by unhealthy diets. Our diet influences our risk of many cancers, including cancers of the bowel, stomach, mouth, foodpipe and breast.
You can reduce your cancer risk by eating a healthy, balanced diet that is: high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in red and processed meat and salt.
“Superfoods”? – There are often stories in the media about specific foods or “anti-cancer diets” that are meant to be particularly good for us. But you shouldn’t rely on so-called superfoods to reduce the risk of cancer. They cannot substitute for a general healthy, balanced diet. Cancer Research UK and Weight Concern have joined forces to develop Ten Top Tips for a healthy diet.
The tips are simple habits that people can permanently fit into their daily routines. Keeping up all ten tips in the long term will help you lose weight and keep it off.
- Keep to your meal routine. Try to eat at roughly the same times each day, whether this is two or five times a day. This will help you to avoid unplanned meals and snacks which are often high in calories.
- Go reduced fat. Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings where you can. Use them sparingly as some can still be high in fat.
- Walk off the weight. Walk 10,000 steps (about 60-90 minutes of moderate activity) each day. You can use a pedometer to help count the steps. You can break up your walking over the day.
- Pack a healthy snack. If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Look at the labels. Be careful about food claims. Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food.
- Caution with your portions. Don’t heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Think twice before having second helpings.
- Up on your feet. Break up your sitting time. Stand up for ten minutes out of every hour.
- Think about your drinks. Choose water or sugar-free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice is high in natural sugar so limit it to 1 glass per day (200ml / 1/3 pint). Alcohol is high in calories so try to limit the amount you drink.
- Focus on your food. Slow down. Don’t eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
- Don’t forget your 5 a day. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether fresh, frozen or tinned (400g in total).
The Ten Top Tips programme helps you incorporate the lifestyle changes into your daily routine so that they become automatic. Keeping track of whether you have successfully completed the tips on a daily basis is important for sticking to them.
For more information visit: Cancer Research UK – How can I lose weight and be healthier?