A Healthy Life: Cancer Prevention and More

WLC Director of Nutrition Kathleen Zelman investigates the link between diet and cancer

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Reviewed By Michael W. Smith, MD

Science is evolutionary, not revolutionary. While a new day often brings a new study looking at the link between cancer and diet, a single study rarely turns the world upside down. WebMD turned to experts to get to the bottom of the connection between cancer and nutrition.

"The evidence on fruits and vegetables has weakened over the last few years with respect to breast cancer yet remains strong for other forms of cancer such as respiratory and gastrointestinal cancers," Tim Byer, MD, tells WebMD. "There is no doubt that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables continues to be beneficial for cancer prevention in general."

"Regular physical activity, weight control, and a heart-healthy diet are the best defenses for both men and women to prevent disease and promote a long and healthy life," says Byer, epidemiologist and professor of preventive medicine at University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Food, Genetics Interact

There are a whole host of benefits of a healthy diet that go beyond cancer. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains -- the foundation of a healthy diet -- contain fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other healthy substances. These nutrient-dense foods are naturally fat free, very satisfying, low in calories, and the cornerstone of a weight-control eating plan.

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