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What You Eat Can Impact Your Cancer Risk

January 13, 2012

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. – If you improve your eating habits and increase your physical activity, you could lower your cancer chances. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated its guidelines on cancer prevention through nutrition and physical activity.

Denise Kolba, member services director for ACS of South Dakota, explains that those who are obese literally change their body chemistry, which raises their risks of some types of cancer.

"We know that people who are overweight and obese tend to have higher levels of insulin and estrogen circulating in their blood. Research has shown that these hormones are related to cell growth – and so, therefore, are really thought to influence our cancer risk."

The new guidelines include lifestyle choices, including maintaining a lifelong healthy weight, being physically active, limiting alcohol consumption, and consuming a diet heavy in plant-based foods. The dietary guidelines focus on portion size, says Kolba, along with other healthy eating habits.

"Having the right portion size is the most important thing you can do, but also to decrease your amount of processed and red meat. Eating at least two-and-a-half cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Choosing whole grains in preference to refined grain products."

To be most successful, Kolba adds, people can work together to improve their health. She says no matter your age or weight, you can still find effective ways to lower your cancer risk.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD