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Eating for Cancer Prevention: How to be Cancer Healthy - January 31, 2019

Eating for Cancer Prevention: How to be Cancer Healthy

Medical experts are predicting a 45% increase in newly diagnosed U.S. cancer patients between 2010 and 2030. This statistic is staggering.



While many people have accepted that they may face cancer in their lifetime, what most don’t realize is that cancer can be preventable. Enter Cancer Healthy, an idea developed by El Camino Hospital that focuses on the three key pillars of cancer prevention:

  • Nutrition
  • Activity
  • Screening

Today, we focus on the first pillar – Nutrition. Studies show that eating a diet of Cancer Healthy foods can reduce your risk of 11 different types of cancer by up to 30%.

What makes a food cancer healthy? While there is no single food you can eat to prevent or fight cancer on its own, we recommend a balanced plant-based diet filled with a variety of vegetables, fruits, soy, nuts, whole grains, and beans.


Guidelines for Cancer Healthy Eating:

Plant-Based Diet – Aim to create a plate that is 1/2 filled with vegetables and fruit, 1/4 lean protein and 1/4 whole grains.

Fruit & Vegetables – Eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Strive for 8-10 servings for maximum cancer healthy benefits.

Breads, Cereals & Grains – Choose whole grains, high fiber breads and cereals, when possible. Aim for at least half of your food choices from this group to be whole grains.

Animal Products – Choose lean protein such as fish, poultry and tofu. Limit red meat consumption and avoid processed meats. Try to eat fatty fish at least twice a week. Keep dairy low-fat. One egg per day is ok, as eggs are a source of high quality protein.

Dietary Fat – Limit total fat if weight loss is needed. Choose healthy fats like canola oil, olive oil, avocado oil, walnuts, flaxseeds and fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines.

Processed Foods & Sugars – Limit refined starchy foods such as white bread, white rice, and processed cereals. Replace with whole grains when possible. Avoid sugary drinks. Eat sweets sparingly, and in a sensible portion.

Alcohol – Limit to no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.

Supplements – Whole foods are the best source of vitamins and minerals. Dietary supplements do not provide the same anti-cancer benefits as fruits and vegetables.

El Camino Health is committing to make our community Cancer Healthy by providing tips, recipes, and screenings to help you prevent your risk of developing cancer. Make it a goal to add these Cancer Healthy eating habits into your healthy lifestyle today.

Learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative.