The finest way to prevent cancer is to be as slender as you can be within the normal range starting at age 21, but the panel noted that losing weight is beneficial at any stage in life if you’re overweight. A weight decrease of even 5–10% can be significant.
Spend at least 30 minutes each day moving your body.
According to the WCRF/AICR cancer report, “All types of physical activity protect against some malignancies as well as against weight increase.”
Aim for moderate activity, such as brisk walking, which is essentially strolling as though you have somewhere to be (and you’re running a bit late), was the report’s recommendation for best results.
As your fitness level rises, try to engage in 60 minutes or more of moderate activity each day or 30 minutes or more of strenuous exercise.
Consume calorie-dense foods in moderation. Stay away from sweet beverages.
As you discovered at Pritikin, the easiest method to avoid gaining weight is to avoid high-calorie items like fatty fast food, dry, processed foods like chips and candy bars, and even healthier alternatives like bagels, pretzels, and dried cereals. That’s because all processed, dehydrated meals contain a lot of calories in a tiny amount of food. It’s startlingly simple to consume 1,000–2,000 calories before your appetite has been satisfied.
“Food supplies that are primarily composed of processed foods, which frequently contain considerable levels of fat or sugar, tend to be more calorie-dense than food sources that also include substantial amounts of fresh foods,” the new cancer assessment said.
Consume plenty of water- and fiber-rich meals daily, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, hot cereals, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables, to maintain a diet low in calories. Foods high in fiber and water typically have few calories but many stomach-filling volumes.
Steer clear of drinks that are high in calories and sugar. It’s a big problem because, as the cancer report notes, “Sugary drinks provide calories but do not seem to induce satiety or compensatory reduction in subsequent calorie intake.” Today, beverages account for one in every five calories we consume in the average American diet (all those great lattes are adding up).
Eat a lot of plant-based foods.
An international panel of cancer experts was advised to consume five servings or more of fruits and vegetables daily and relatively unprocessed whole grains and legumes (beans) with each meal. “These are the suggested meal components, not items derived from animals.”
These meals are low in calories or have very few calories, as well as “large amounts of dietary fiber and a range of micronutrients.”
Your Pritikin certified dietitians have taught you that starting each lunch and dinner with a large delicious salad is a simple way to include many vegetables into your day. “Big” is stressed. In this particular instance, “super sizing” is a positive thing.
Start with a large bowl at salad bars, then add lots of greens. Add a ton of vibrant vegetables next, followed by some lean protein, such as beans, tofu, white meat, chicken, or seafood, if you’d like. Because beans are so high in fiber, they will keep you full for a very long period.
Avoid processed meat and limit your consumption of red meat.
Red meats, such as beef, hog, and lamb, as well as processed meats like sausage, bacon, hot dogs, salami, and ham, are “convincing or plausible causes of various cancers,” including cancers of the colon, esophagus, lung, stomach, and prostate, according to the WCRF/AICR research.
Additionally, “diets containing high levels of animal fats are frequently very rich in calories, increasing the risk of weight gain.”
According to cancer experts, the average daily red meat diet for the population should not exceed 11 ounces; very little, if any, of this should be processed.
The experts recommended white meat chicken and shellfish as an alternative to red meat. The preference is also given to meat from wild animals, birds, and fish, whose nutritional profiles differ from those of domesticated and commercially farmed animals.
The Pritikin Program suggests consuming no more than 3.5 to 4 ounces (cooked) of animal protein per day for the best prevention of cardiovascular disease. Besides a few higher-cholesterol options like eel, conch, and squid, seafood is often the best option. You can choose skinless white chicken once a week or grass-fed, free-range wild game like elk, venison, and buffalo. Aim to consume additional red meat only once a month, if not never.
Be careful with alcohol.
Even while the WCRF/ACIR panel considered the evidence showing that moderate doses of alcoholic beverages are probably protective against coronary heart disease, the data on cancer show that “even small amounts of alcoholic beverages should be avoided.”
Alcohol consumption has been associated with liver, mouth, throat, and colorectal cancers.
According to the cancer report, if you drink alcohol, you should limit your intake to no more than two drinks per day for males and one drink per day for women.
Only middle-aged and older people, in whom heart disease is a much greater concern, are connected with these modest consumption levels with decreased risk of developing the disease.
Cardiologists say the drinking age should be about 40 because those under the age of 40 do not profit from alcohol. They merely drive into ditches or perhaps worse. Each year, almost 100,000 Americans pass away from alcohol-related illnesses and trauma like car accidents, mainly due to excessive alcohol use.
Consume salt in moderation.
According to the cancer report, salt is necessary for human health and life itself, but at levels significantly lower than those usually ingested in the majority of the world. Some malignancies, especially stomach cancer, may be brought on by salt and foods preserved with salt.
The panel advises consuming processed foods with added salt in amounts lower than 2,400 mg daily to prevent cancer. About 40% sodium and 60% chloride make up salt.
According to the Pritikin Program and the Institute of Medicine, adult Americans should keep their daily sodium intake between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams, depending on age, to prevent both cancer and cardiovascular-related disorders, including hypertension and heart attacks. The recommended daily salt intake for people 19 to 50 is 1,500 mg or less. Aim for 1,200 mg or fewer of sodium for people over 70 and 1,300 mg or less for those 51 to 70.
That’s no easy feat when you reside in the United States, where one restaurant plate of marinara spaghetti can have a whopping 3,000 mg of salt and where, calorie for calorie, corn flakes, and most bread contains approximately twice as much sodium as potato chips.
We eventually pay the price, though. America has the highest rate of high blood pressure ever. Today, we have a 90% probability of developing high blood pressure in our lifetime. It’s a significant issue since hypertension (constantly high blood pressure) triples the risk of passing away from cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that blood pressure can decline significantly, according to studies on the Pritikin Program. In a meta-analysis of 1,117 hypertensives conducted at the Pritikin Longevity Center, 55% of individuals using medication for high blood pressure saw their readings drop to normal, medication-free ranges. They stopped using their anti-hypertensive drugs and went home after just three weeks.
Focus on using food alone to meet nutritional needs rather than supplements.
According to the WCRF/AICR group, taking supplements to prevent cancer “may have unforeseen harmful effects.” Dietary supplements are not the best source of nutrition; food is.
Foods that have been “fortified” with whole grains, a fad that started in the United States in 1988 when almost every processed food was “Fortified With Oat Bran,” are also suspect. Another typical marketing gimmick is rebranding unhealthy food as “healthy” by omitting one component (Trans-Fat-Free Crisco).
Ironically, only the most healthy foods have never been designated as “fortified” or “good for you.” These are the produce department’s humble carrots, green beans, and other fruits and vegetables. They naturally contain various nutrients humans require, but never in excessively high or risky quantities.
In the end, avoiding foods with health claims is preferable, according to Michael Pollan’s persuasive book on the food industry, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. According to Pollan, “they’re likely to be excessively processed, and the claims are frequently at best questionable.
“Remember that margarine, one of the first manufactured foods that claim to be healthier than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to cause heart attacks in humans,” the author said. Health claims are hopelessly undermined when Mars can brag about its chocolate bars with added plant sterols and Kentucky Fried Chicken about its trans-fat-free drumsticks.
Eating real food is your best bet. Healthy whole foods. Yes, that’s easier said than done amid our mess. Here is a hint: Purchase foods that your great-great-grandmother would have considered to be food. Fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, yams, oats, corn on the cob, and brown rice are healthy foods. The panel of top cancer experts concluded that these predominantly plant-based foods are the most acceptable sources of nutrition for you.
Mothers should nurse their babies, as should kids.
According to research on cancer and other diseases, exclusive breastfeeding for the duration of a kid’s first year protects both the mother and the child. (Exclusive means consuming just human milk and no other food or liquids, including water.))
Therefore, the panel advises moms to breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months and supplement their diets.