Cancer, foods to avoid and those recommended to reduce risk

Cancer, expert advice on nutrition

What to eat to avoid cancer? The thesis for which the cancer has an environmental component and that diet and lifestyle in general are among the possible preventable causes in the onset of tumors is now well established. But what to eat and what not to eat to ward off a cancer? First of all, maintain a healthy weight.

More whole grains, many fruits, vegetables and legumes: to reduce the risk of a tumor it is necessary to intervene also and above all at the table. This is confirmed once again by the World Cancer Research Fund, which – about ten years after the previous edition – has published a review of all the scientific studies dedicated to the relationship between nutrition, life and tumors.

What emerges – we read on – ​​is not very different from past recommendations: to stay healthy and avoid cancer diseases it would be good to increase the intake of certain foods and eliminate them (or at least drastically reduce their consumption) others , such as red meat and sugary drinks.

Based on solid data, the scientists participating in this review project considered factors that may have a preventive or cancer-promoting effect.

The protective power of plants

An integrated approach to considering evidence shows that most cancer protective diets are rich in plant-based foods.

Relatively unprocessed foods of plant origin are rich in nutrients and dietary fiber. A higher consumption of these foods would mean a diet richer in essential nutrients and more effective in regulating energy intake than energy expenditure. This could protect against weight gain, overweight and obesity and thus protect against obesity-related cancers.

The Decalogue to Prevent Cancer

For the general population, experts recommend a number of things to do to prevent cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight at all times

In general, the so-called body mass index (BMI or BMI from the English “body mass index”) is used, which is obtained by calculating the ratio between the weight of the individual in kilograms and height, in meters squared (kg / m2). When your BMI falls within the range of 18.5 to 24.9, your weight is within normal range.

Get regular physical activity

Physical activity is, together with nutrition and lifestyle, one of the keys that guarantee our body health and well-being. According to the WCRF report, physical effort equal to brisk walking for at least half an hour a day is sufficient to reduce cancer risk.

Eat more whole grains

But also more vegetables, fruit and legumes rich in substances, called “phytocompounds”, capable of literally protecting the body. These foods are also rich in micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and are primarily the only source of dietary fiber.

According to the report, you need to eat at least 30g of fiber and at least 400g of fruits and vegetables every day.

No junk food

Nor ultra-processed foods, because they are too rich in fats and sugars and salt. In addition, similar foods have a high energy density and can also contribute to the aforementioned excess weight.

Red meats

We have said it thousands of times: pork, beef, goat, sheep, lamb and horse. For those used to eating them, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, three servings per week should not be exceeded, which equates to a total of about 350-500 g. It is also suggested to limit the processed meat as much as possible – cold cuts, cold cuts, sausages and canned meats. Consuming it in higher quantities can increase the risk of cancer, particularly of the colorectal.

Better, if you want, the consumption of white meat in lean cuts and with cooking that does not involve the production of carcinogenic compounds as occurs for example when grilled meat is scorched.

No sugary drinks

But only water!

Limit alcohol consumption

Experts recommend limiting the quantity by consuming one glass of wine (125 ml) per meal per day for women and two for men, reiterating that there is no amount of alcohol that can be drunk at zero risk.

Vary your diet

And ensure a sufficient supply of all nutrients, a valid rule for preventing cancer.


If possible, do it for at least six months. According to research on the female population, women who breastfeed their children up to six months have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Subscribe to the newsletter


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick