Lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and drinking can all play a part, as can the increasing lifespan of humans. While it’s known that being healthy and active can help prevent cancer, this doesn’t necessarily mean drastic changes need to be made.
In fact, the World Cancer Research Fund has compiled a list to show just how simple it is to make changes to your wellbeing. The new guide is part of the ‘I CAN’ campaign, which is set to launch next week, and here are some of the recommendations.
Cut out white bread
The cons of white bread, pasta and rice have been discussed before, with all of them high in carbs, linked to high cholesterol and containing refined white flour, which offers very little fibre.
By swapping for wholegrain options, your fibre intake not only increases but you’ll also not pile on the pounds as you’ll feel fuller for longer. The more stable your weight is, the less likely you are to get cancers related to obesity such as bowel cancer. To see just how big the difference is, a slice of white bread contains 1g fibre compared to 2.5g in wholemeal.
Use spice instead of salt
It doesn’t come as surprise that salt increases blood pressure, but did you know that the more of the white stuff you eat, the more risk you have to developing stomach cancer? Salt has been linked to damaging the stomach’s lining, thus making it vulnerable to illness. You don’t have to cut it out completely, but in lots of meals you can sprinkle a heap of your favourite herb or spice on the food instead to get the same flavour benefits. With so many options, such as chilli, garlic and ginger, you won’t be stuck on which to choose. And black pepper is still good to go so make sure you keep that in the cupboard.
Eat less meat
This one is for the carnivores out there – yes, it’s good for you in small doses, but eating too much red meat is dangerous as it can lead to bowel cancer. It’s the compound heme, which is found in the meat and gives it the red tinge, that is believed to damage the bowel lining. Even processed meats such as bacon and ham are culprits.
Another area of danger is the smoke in which the meat is cured, and the preservatives added only build up the danger. By cutting out meat for one day a week (or more if you’re a veggie lover too) you lower your risks, as well as improving your overall health.
This one is easy – the ‘I CAN’ campaign urges people to move as much as they can, such as taking a walk while on the phone, making the most of housework (stretch, keep on your feet) and taking a walk every evening, even if for just 25 minutes. You’ll immediately reap the benefits of being out and about in the fresh air too!