The Connection Between a Healthy Diet/Lifestyle and Cancer


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  • Note: Estimated percentage of cancers and number of cases that could be prevented annually through healthy diet, regular physical activity and being lean.
  • Antioxidants are compounds found in plant foods and can take the shape of vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals. Antioxidants alleviate and prevent damage to our cells caused by “free radicals,” natural byproducts of many cell
  • The typical American meal is heavy on meat, fish or poultry. Take a look at this plate. Fully half is loaded down with a huge (8-12 oz.) steak. The remainder is filled with a hearty helping of buttery mashed potatoes and peas. Although this meal is a home-style favorite, it is high in fat and calories and low in phytochemical and fiber. A few changes, however, will bring it closer to the New American Plate.This meal features a more moderate (4-6 oz.) serving of meat. A large helping of green beans prepared with your favorite herbs and the addition of a filling whole grain (seasoned brown rice) increase the proportion of nutritious, plant-based foods. This plate is on the right track, but doesn’t yet take advantage of all the good-tasting foods the New American Plate has to offer.3. The 3-ounce serving of meat (fish, poultry or red meat) pictured here fits AICR’s guideline for cancer prevention. This plate also features a wider variety of foods, resulting in a diverse assortment of cancer-fighting nutrients. Two kinds of vegetables help increase the proportionof plant-based foods. A healthy serving of a tasty whole grain (brown rice, barley, kasha, bulgur, millet, quinoa*) completesthe meal.4. In a one-pot meal like this stir-fry, you can reduce the animal foods and increase the plant-based ingredients without even noticing.* This plate is bursting with colorful vegetables, hearty whole grains and cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Fish, poultry or occasionally red meat is used as a condiment,adding a bit of flavor and substance to the meal. Plates like this one show the delicious possibilities – the new tastes, colors and textures – that can be found on the New American Plate.
  • The Connection Between a Healthy Diet/Lifestyle and Cancer

    1. 1. Understanding the Connection Between a Healthy Lifestyle and Cancer Holly Mills, MS,RD,CDN,CSO NYU Clinical Cancer Center
    2. 2. Healthy Lifestyle for Cancer Prevention According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity and healthy body weight can lower your risk of cancer Overall, about 1/3 of the most common cancers in the US could be prevented by following the AICR recommendations, according to experts
    3. 3. Healthy Lifestyle for Cancer Prevention
    4. 4. AICR Guidelines for Cancer Prevention Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat Aim to be a healthy weight throughout life Be physically active every day in any way for 30 minutes or more
    5. 5. Foods That Fight Cancer? No single food or food component can protect you against cancer by itself. But scientists believe that the combination of foods in a predominantly plant- based diet may. There is evidence that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods could interact in ways that boost their individual anti-cancer effects Eating a predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and protect against those cancers whose risk is convincingly increased by higher body fat. Such as cancers of colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, kidney and breast in postmenopausal women
    6. 6. Plant Based Diet The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends to fill your plate with 2/3 or more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans and 1/3 or less with animal protein
    7. 7. Plant Based Diet Plant foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains (such as whole wheat bread and brown rice), beans and legumes, nuts and seeds Provide substances that help keep us healthy when eaten regularly Good sources of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber
    8. 8. Phytochemicals Naturally occurring compounds that provide scent, color and taste to protect the plants containing them Researchers have discovered hundreds of different phytochemicals in plant foods that work to protect our health by blocking the potential for cancer causing substances to form in our bodies They also appear to strengthen our immune systems, reduce inflammation and regulate hormones. These improvements can lower cancer risk
    9. 9. Vitamins Plant foods provide essential vitamins such as vitamin K to help bones and blood clotting, vitamin A for eyesight and Vitamin C for immunity and wound healing
    10. 10. Minerals Minerals from foods are essential to good health and research suggests some may be protective against cancer Examples of minerals in plant foods include calcium in dark leafy greens, selenium in whole grains, magnesium in beans, and potassium in spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash and bananas
    11. 11. The Colors of Health Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, blueberries, yellow peppers, purple plums, red watermelon, and pineapple
    12. 12. Fiber Fiber rich plant foods contain hundreds of naturally occurring plant substances called phytochemicals, which help protect the body’s cells from damage that may lead to cancer. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals As part of a well balanced diet, eat at least 25 grams of fiber each day from a variety of plant foods
    13. 13. Fitting More Plant Foods into Your DietTips for Breakfast:  Whole grain cold cereal topped with fresh fruit. Look for cereals with little added sugar/salt. Use skim or 1% milk.  Oatmeal sprinkled with crushed walnuts  Whole wheat toast with natural cashew, almond or peanut butter  Vegetable omelet with bell peppers, mushrooms, onion and spinach
    14. 14. Fitting More Plant Foods into Your DietTips for Lunch:  Make a sandwich with whole grain bread or pita filled with hummus, spinach, tomato and onion  Broth based soup with beans and vegetable  Spinach salad topped with strawberries and nuts. Add 3 oz of salmon for a heartier meal  Spaghetti Squash with fresh tomato sauce and diced chicken breast
    15. 15. Fitting More Plant Foods into Your DietTips for Dinner:  Increase the amount of vegetables in mixed dishes and casseroles  When preparing burgers or meatloaf that call for 1lb of meat, cut that amount to three-quarters of a pound and add 2/3 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, or barley  Try a kidney bean and ground turkey chili served with brown rice, broccoli and red peppers  Prepare lentils with onion, garlic, dijon mustard and top with a piece of halibut or salmon
    16. 16. Fitting More Plant Foods into Your Diet Visit a Greenmarket and stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and whole grain bread. Go to to find a market near you Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Visit to find a CSA in your area
    17. 17. Healthy Cooking Register for a cooking class. Cook for Your Life and the American Cancer Society offer hands-on cooking classes at Hope Lodge. Classes are open to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers To register, email or call 212-799- 3894
    18. 18. Aim to Be a Healthy Weight Weight control is essential to reducing cancer risk. To maintain a healthy weight you need to choose healthful foods in reasonable portions and get at least 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity per day. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes of physical activity each day
    19. 19. Portion Control and Weight Management Oversize portions have become standard in this country, and as a result, we have lost our perspective on what a healthy portion size should be According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, portions have increased significantly over the past 20 years
    20. 20. Portion Control and Weight Management20 years ago Today Steamed Mocha latte 16 oz/ 350 kcalCoffee whole milk /sugar8oz/ 45cal 255 cal/ 3.5 in. 55 cal /1.5 inc 510 cal/4oz 210 cal/1.5 oz 500 cal 850 calories
    21. 21. Portion Control and Weight ManagementTips for controlling portions: Use smaller bowls and plates. Smaller portions of food will look bigger When reading Nutrition Facts labels, check serving size first; that’s what all the other figures on the label apply to. Some packages look like a single serving, but actually have 2 or 3 servings
    22. 22. Portion Control and Weight Management Pass on super-sized and value meals. They have no value in weight control Restaurant meals and bakery items are usually oversized, so save half the meal before you begin or plan to share with a dining companion Use measuring cups to see what amount really goes on your plate or bowl. Compare your portions to the standard servings defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
    23. 23. Portion Control and Weight Management Food Serving Looks Like Chopped vegetables 1/2 cup ½ baseball or rounded handful Raw, leafy vegetables 1 cup 1 baseball or fist full Fresh fruit 1 small piece; ½ cup chopped 1 baseball; ½ baseball or rounded handful Dried fruit ¼ cup 1 golf ball or scant handfulPasta, rice, cooked cereal ½ cup ½ baseball or rounded handful Ready-to-eat cereal Varies from ¼ - 1 ¼ cup Whole Wheat Bread 1 Slice Whole Grain Crackers 5 crackers Meat, poultry, seafood 3oz cooked Deck of cards Dried beans ½ cup ½ baseball or rounded handful Nuts 1/3 cup Level handful Cheese 1oz 4 small dice or 1” cube Milk 8 oz
    24. 24. New American Plate The New American Plate emphasizes the kinds of foods that can reduce risk for disease. It also shows how to enjoy all foods in sensible portions. It promotes a healthy weight as just one part of an overall healthy lifestyle At the center of the New American Plate is a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. These foods are rich in substances that help keep us in good health and protect against many types of cancer. They are also naturally low in calories
    25. 25. Making the TransitionStage 1: The Old American Stage 2: A Transitional PlatePlateStage 3: The New American Plate Stage 4: Another Option
    26. 26. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention Scientist have found evidence to suggest physical activity may play a role in reducing your risk for a variety of cancers The link between physical activity and cancer prevention is certain, but it isn’t clear exactly how this connection works. Current research suggests that some biological effects of physical activity may play a role in cancer prevention: - Reduces body fat - Boosts the immune system - Speeds up food transit time in the gut
    27. 27. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention AICR recommends moderate physical activity, equivalent to brisk walking, for at least 30 minutes per day. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate activity or for 30 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day “Physical Activity” includes much more than exercise you might get at the gym or in a fitness class. Daily activities like walking to the mailbox, lifting boxes at work, sweeping and recreational activities like hiking or cycling all count
    28. 28. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention Researchers are finding that sitting for long periods of time can increase some of those same indicators of cancer risk, even among people who exercise daily Based on these research findings, AICR is urging Americans to make time for physical activity and break every hour of sitting with 1 to 2 minutes of activity These breaks can be as simple as walking to a colleagues office instead of sending an email or going to the kitchen to get a glass of water
    29. 29. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention
    30. 30. Physical Activity and Cancer PreventionTypes of Activity: Aerobic activity also known as cardiovascular or endurance activity is any activity that raises your heart rate to an elevated but safe level and keeps it there for a period of time Strength training involves working your muscles against a weight or resistance to increase strength Stretching becomes especially important as you get older, when activities like reaching above your head become more difficult. A regular stretching program that works your joints through their full range of motion can help you to maintain independence as you age
    31. 31. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention Exercise intensity is the measure of how hard your body is working during physical activity and is often characterized as light, moderate or vigorous. Intensity also depends on the difficulty level, such as whether you are walking on a flat surface or uphill The true intensity for an activity will vary based on your current fitness level. For example, when you begin an exercise program, a 3mph walk may be a vigorous activity; as you become more fit, the walk will become easier for you to complete in less time and may be considered a moderate intensity activity
    32. 32. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention The guide below will give you a general sense of the intensity level for a variety of common activities:Light Intensity Activities Walking, slowly Golf, powered cart Gardening or pruning Bicycling, leisurely Dusting or vacuuming Light stretching
    33. 33. Physical Activity and Cancer PreventionModerate Intensity Activities Walking, briskly (3.4 miles per hour) Golf, pulling or carrying clubs Swimming, recreational Tennis, Doubles Bicycling 5 to 9 mph, level terrain Scrubbing floors or washing windows Weight lifting machines, free weights or resistance bands
    34. 34. Physical Activity and Cancer PreventionVigorous Intensity Activities Jogging or running (5 miles per hour) Swimming laps Tennis, Singles Bicycling >10mph, or on steep hills Moving or pushing furniture Circuit training with weight machines
    35. 35. Physical Activity and Cancer PreventionAdditional tips for increasing physical activity: Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it Work in the garden or mow the grass. Using a riding mower doesnt count! Rake leaves, prune, dig and pick up trash Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving. When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk and choose a hilly route Park farther away at the shopping mall and walk the extra distance. Wear your walking shoes and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall
    36. 36. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way Get off the bus or subway a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home Make a date with a friend to enjoy your favorite physical activities. Do them regularly Take dancing lessons If you are new to exercise and confused about how to start, try walking. Walking is the simplest way to start and continue an exercise regimen Choose activities you enjoy—think about variety to stay motivated!
    37. 37. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention Search BeFitNYC for free and low-cost fitness activities in New York City. Activities include walking groups, fitness classes and swimming lessons http:/ /
    38. 38. Physical Activity and Cancer PreventionMoving For Life A program of dance exercise tailored for women living with breast cancer. Classes are also open to and beneficial for anyone dealing with other types of cancers or similar physical challenges For more information, call 212-414-2921or visit
    39. 39. Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention In general, physical activity is considered by researchers and oncologist as helpful for everyday functioning and recovery. However, if you are a cancer survivor, it is very important to check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program and to begin slowly
    40. 40. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start Get regular physical activity and limit intake of high- calorie foods and drinks as keys to help maintain a healthy weight Be physically active
    41. 41. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Adults: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week Children and teens: Get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment Doing some physical activity above usual activities, no matter what one’s level of activity, can have many health benefits
    42. 42. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products If you drink alcohol, limit your intake Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2
    43. 43. Additional Resources American Institute for Cancer Research- American Cancer Society- American Dietetic Association- National Cancer Institute (NCI)- USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center- American Heart Association- nCenter Eating Well- Cooking Light-
    44. 44. QUESTIONS