Shannon Medical Center | Health Beat | Winter 2021

4 HEALTH BEAT Want more tips on diet, exercise and weight loss? Check out the stories in our online health librar y at health-library . Cancer prevention w ta3 oys ry eoduurce risk his question has an obvious answer: Would you like to mark- edly cut your cancer risk? Still, no matter how emphatic your “yes,” wanting to avoid cancer and knowing how are two different things. That’s where the three safeguards featured here come in. While there are no guarantees that you won’t get cancer, research suggests that about one-third of the most common cancers in this country could be prevented if we all moved more, ate better and didn’t let extra pounds accumulate. It also helps, of course, not to smoke—that’s the No. 1 way to prevent cancer. As you read, you’ll discover doable ways to make all three of these lifestyle changes a reality. T EAT SMART. Your incentive: Just as a healthy diet protects you against heart disease and type 2 diabetes, it can also help you stay cancer-free. For example, people who eat plenty of fruits, vegeta- bles, whole grains and legumes may reduce their risk of lung, oral, esophageal, colon and stomach cancers. HERE’S HOW: Make produce a priority by filling half your plate with it. Fruits and vegetables are packed with naturally occurring plant chemicals that may protect our bodies’ cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Eat a variety of colorful plant foods—think of a rainbow—for the best mix of protective chemicals. Also make at least half your grains whole grains, since fiber-rich foods appear to fend off colon cancer. And go easy on calorie-dense foods lacking in nutri- ents, like many foods with solid fats and added sugars. These foods may add pounds, and being overweight raises your cancer risk. As for salt, foods preserved by salting may contribute to stomach cancer. Cancer