Cancer Prevention Dietary Guidelines

Katrina Claghorn, RD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Question
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
What kind of diet should I eat to reduce my risk of cancer?


Answer
Katrina Claghorn, RD, Oncology Dietitian for The University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

The American Cancer Society has developed the following dietary guidelines:

  • Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Include other plant foods such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta and dried beans with every meal. These foods are all excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. (Phytocemicals)
  • Limit your intake of high fat foods. Low fat foods include lean meat, poultry, fish, low and skim milk products, cooked dry peas and beans, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables. Added fat (butter, margarine, oil and mayonnaise) should be avoided since it only increases the total fat in the diet. Whenever available select low-fat or nonfat food products. Also, choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources since these foods have little or no fat. You should attempt to reduce fat intake to 20-30% of total calories.
  • Be physically active. You should include some moderately active exercise for 30 minutes or more every day.
  • Stay within your healthy weight range. It has been found that gaining more than eleven pounds in adulthood can increase the risk of cancer.
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.

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