Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Cancer Risk

Jen Haugen, Austin Daily Herald, Minn.

Posted Feb 15, 2013

While I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in this year's "Paint The Town Pink" festivities, I also realize as a registered dietitian that there is a tremendous opportunity for education on cancer prevention.

Working toward a cure through research as well as prevention are equally important measures that we can all take part in year-round.

An amazing statistic: Americans can prevent one-third of the most common cancers, including breast, colorectal, mouth/throat, endometrial, prostate, esophageal, stomach, kidney, pancreatic and liver cancers.

That means for every 100 people diagnosed with cancer, 33 people could have prevented it with simple lifestyle changes (source: American Institute of Cancer Research, 2012).

What are these "simple lifestyle changes?"

Stay lean, eat smart and move more. One simple change to make today is to focus your attention on fiber.

Fiber can help you eat smart and stay lean because it helps slow digestion, making you feel fuller longer, which in turn can help you control your weight -- an important risk factor for the development of cancer.

Many high-fiber foods also are low in calories. Here are some examples of good sources of fiber:

-- Fresh fruits and vegetables

-- Reduced-sodium canned vegetables

-- Cooked dry beans (black beans, pinto, navy, kidney)

-- Frozen, unsweetened fruits

-- Canned fruits, packed in juice or light syrup

-- Whole grain bread and pasta (look for whole grain as the first ingredient)

The daily goal for fiber: 25-35 grams. Examples of fiber-rich foods to include in your meals are:

-- Breakfast: Half cup blueberries + 1 cup shredded wheat 8 grams fiber

-- Snack: 1 medium banana 3 grams fiber

-- Lunch: 2 slices whole-wheat bread + 1 cup lentil soup 10 grams fiber

-- Snack: Quarter cup hummus + 6 whole grain crackers 7 grams fiber

-- Dinner: 1 cup broccoli + 1/2 cup brown rice + small tossed salad 8 grams fiber

Total: 36 grams of fiber.

Of course, you would add protein and dairy sources to these meals above, but this gives you an idea of how to turn your meals into high-fiber mealtimes. Just note that your body will need time to adjust to a higher fiber intake, so take it slow and drink plenty of water.

For more information on cancer prevention, visit the American Institute of Cancer Research website at

Serves 4

All you need

-- 1/2 pound 93% lean ground turkey

-- 1/4 cup light sour cream or non-fat plain Greek yogurt

-- 2 tablespoons salsa

-- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

-- 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers

-- 1/2 cup chopped white onion

-- 4 Flatout Healthy Grain wraps

-- 4 large romaine lettuce leaves

All you do

1. Brown the ground turkey over medium-high heat. Drain excess liquid as necessary. Remove browned meat and store in refrigerator until needed.

2. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, salsa and chili powder. Add peppers, onions and ground turkey. Mix well.

3. Lay out wraps on a work surface. Top with lettuce leaves and turkey filling. Roll up and serve.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 240 calories, 9 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 410 mg sodium, 45 mg cholesterol, 20 grams protein.

©2013 the Austin Daily Herald (Austin, Minn.)

Visit the Austin Daily Herald (Austin, Minn.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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