The World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF International) leads and unifies a global network of cancer charities dedicated to the prevention and control of cancer by means of healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management.
Their publication - Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, published in November 2007 - is considered by experts to be the authoritative source of information on diet, physical activity and cancer. Here’s a summary of the recommendations for cancer prevention and for good health in general.
1. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. A combination of cardio and weight training is highly recommended.
3. Avoid sugary drinks.
4. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (particularly processed foods high in added sugar, low in fiber or high in fat).
5. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, such as beans. Choose foods with naturally bright colors and green, leafy vegetables.
6. Limit consumption of red meats (beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats. Get protein from fish or vegetable sources.
7. Avoid as many processed foods as possible.
8. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day.
9. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with sodium.
While vitamin supplements can be helpful in people with nutritional deficiencies, evidence suggests that supplementation above what the body can use provides no added health benefit. In particular, nutritional supplements do not protect against cancer. The report recommends that people meet their nutritional needs through their food choices.
As you switch to a healthier diet, your tastes will become acclimated to the natural flavors and smells of real food. And if you practice “mindful” eating, thinking about each food you are consuming, its color and texture and taste, the benefits it packs and the value it brings, eating will become a whole new, and healthy, experience.