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Eat to Beat Cancer

Most cancers are lifestyle-induced and therefore highly preventable! Around one-third of cancers are linked to diet, and another third are caused by smoking. This means that most people have it in their own hands to lead a fuller, healthier life.

Following a review of 7,000 studies undertaken by top experts in the field, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recently updated its recommendations. This group suggests ten ways (see we can cancer-proof our lives. Here are four:

Four keys to get you started:

1. Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. It is now well recognized that obesity is linked to certain cancers. Good weight control may be one of the most important ways to prevent cancer, as well as other chronic diseases. The goal is to keep our body mass index (BMI) between 21 and 23—lower than previously thought. To calculate your BMI, visit

2. Eat mostly foods of plant origin. While the report doesn’t state that we all need to become vegetarians, it recognizes that most diets which protect against cancer are made up mainly from foods of plant origin. It strongly encourages us to fill our plates with a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans (lentils, navy beans, chickpeas, etc.).

3. Limit your intake of red meat, such as beef and lamb, and avoid processed meat.

There is now convincing, or probable, evidence that red meat causes cancer, especially if it is processed (bacon or ham, for example). Although meat can provide useful nutrients, it should be consumed sparingly, if at all, and in modest amounts. The recommendation is to eat less than 18 ounces per week—that’s only a couple of good-sized steaks! It’s smarter to get your protein from vegetable sources.

4. Eliminate or limit alcoholic beverages.

From a cancer perspective, there is no safe level of alcohol intake. If alcoholic drinks are consumed, the WCRF recommends no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks for men. Total abstinence avoids experiencing any of the negative effects of alcohol. Signs of the Times® has recommended this for 130 years.

Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of The Breakfast Book and coauthor of Eat To Live, internationally acclaimed for showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and improve well-being. See the latest at

Food Matters

by Sue Radd
From the April 2008 Signs