Many people think that excess body fat just makes clothing tighter, but being overweight and obese is also a PRIMARY cause of cancer. This is because an overabundance of fat cells causes inflammation and over-production of many hormones.
Getting back into those “skinny jeans” will not only make you look and feel better, but it will also help you avoid some serious health consequences. After not smoking, being at a healthy weight is the MOST important thing you can do to prevent cancer. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that up to one-third of the most common cancers could be prevented if Americans ate a healthy diet, got at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, and maintained a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity have been highly correlated to an increased risk of colorectal, esophageal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and post-menopausal breast cancers, among others. The AICR estimates that excess body fat is the cause of roughly 117,000 cases of cancer each year in the United States, and yet over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
Foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains that help you lose weight can also help prevent cancer. Plant foods provide a variety of cancer fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals protect cells from damage caused by aging, smoking, excess fat accumulation, and pollution. Dark colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, strawberries and red radishes contain a group of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which have been extensively studied for their anticancer effects in the gastrointestinal tract. The AICR has a wonderful “Foods that Fight Cancer” website complete with a full glossary of foods that have been shown through clinical research to fight and prevent cancer.
To avoid putting on that excess body fat and increasing your risk of cancer, limit the amount of calorie dense foods you consume such as fatty meats (e.g. sausage and prime rib), deep fried foods (e.g. French fries), packaged baked goods, and use of butter/margarine/lard. Check out my “Top Ten Ways to Lose Weight and Be Healthy” as well as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans for more information losing weight and keeping it off. Multivitamins have also recently been shown to reduce the risk of all cause cancer by about 12% according to a new 11 year clinical trial of > 15,000 men.