Eat to Help Prevent Cancer

Your lifestyle - including the foods you eat -- can make a big difference in your cancer risk.

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Everyone knows there are certain foods that are good for your health, and then there are the other foods - the ones we often have a hard time saying no to. An American Cancer Society survey revealed our top five irresistible foods, and the good news is that these foods not only can fit into a healthy diet but in some cases may even help prevent cancer! Topping the list was chocolate, followed by pizza (and other Italian food). Cakes, cookies and muffins were third, then hamburgers, and last, seafood.

The key to eating these foods (or your own favorites) and still reducing cancer risk is to eat them in small portions, along with large portions of disease-fighting plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Small portions are essential because there is a strong link between being overweight and many types of cancer.

"As many as one-third of all cancer deaths could be prevented through good nutrition, physical activity, and being at a healthy weight," says Colleen Doyle, RD, nutrition and physical activity director for the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Tweak Favorites to Help Prevent Cancer

If you don't like a certain food, no matter how good it is for you, chances are you won't eat it. Knowing how people make food choices, the ACS looked for health benefit in the foods we prefer.