AICR's panel of experts have spent about 15 years reviewing the literature on diet and cancer. The following is a summary of their recommendations designed to reduce the risk of cancer by diet
- People should consume nutritionally adequate and varied diets, based primarily on foods of plant origin. Choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses (legumes) and minimally processed starchy staple foods
- Avoid being underweight or overweight and limit weight gain during adulthood to less than 5 kg (11 pounds). The average body mass index (BMI) throughout adult life should be maintained within the range of 18.5 and 25.
- If occupational activity is low or moderate, take an hour's brisk walk or similar exercise daily, and also exercise vigorously for a total of at least one hour in a week.
- Eat 400 - 800 grams (15 - 30 ounces) or five or more portions (servings) a day of a variety of vegetables and fruits, all year round.
- Eat 600 - 800 grams (20 - 30 ounces) or more than seven portions (servings) a day of a variety of cereals (grains), pulses (legumes), roots, tubers and plantains. Prefer minimally processed foods. Limit consumption of refined sugar.
- Alcohol consumption is not recommended. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to less than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
- If eaten at all, limit intake of red meat to less than 80 grams (3 ounces) daily. It is preferable to choose fish, poultry or meat from non-domesticated animals in place of red meat.
- Limit consumption of fatty foods, particularly those of animal origin. Choose modest amounts of appropriate vegetable oils.
- Limit consumption of salted foods and use of cooking and table salt. Use herbs and spices to season foods. Salt from all sources should amount to less than 6 grams/day (0.25 ounces) for adults
- Do not eat food which, as a result of prolonged storage at ambient temperatures, is liable to contamination with mycotoxins. Store perishable food in ways that minimise fungal contamination.
- Use refrigeration and other appropriate methods to preserve perishable food as purchased and at home.
- When levels of additives, contaminants and other residues are properly regulated, their presence in food and drink is not known to be harmful. However, unregulated or improper use can be a health hazard, and this applies particularly in economically developing countries.
- Do not eat charred food. For meat and fish eaters, avoid burning of meat juices. Consume the following only occasionally: meat and fish grilled (broiled) in direct flame; cured and smoked meats. When meat and fish are eaten, it should be cooked over low temperatures.
- For those who follow the recommendations presented here, dietary supplements are probably unnecessary, and possibly unhelpful, for reducing cancer risk.
- Production, promotion and use of tobacco in any form is discouraged.
The panel estimated that diets that follows tha above recommendations, together with maintenance of physical activity and appropriate body mass, can in time reduce cancer incidence by 30 - 40%. At current rates, on a global basis, this represents 3 - 4 million cases of cancer per year that could be prevented by dietary and associated means.
Diet can prevent cancer!
Enjoy your cancer reducing meals!