The anti-cancer diet: prevention and nutrition tips

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 35% of cancers have a nutritional connection. Laura Kenny, a Registered Dietitian with Riverview Hospital, recently led a seminar on Nutrition in Cancer Prevention and shares a summary of her presentation here.

It is possible to prevent 35% of cancers by:

  • Following a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Performing regular exercise
The Anti-Cancer Diet (printable)

It is possible to prevent 30% of cancers by:

  • Not using tobacco

Guidelines for cancer prevention:

  • Choose a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain an healthy weight and be physically active.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all.
  • Select foods low in fat and salt.
  • Prepare and store food safely.

Obesity is a risk factor for the following types of cancers, primarily:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrial
  • Esophogeal
  • Gall bladder
  • Pancreas
  • Kidney
  • Reccuring cancer
Color Your Plate with Salad (printable)

Obesity acts as a tumor promoter and may increase the risk of cancer by 150-450%. Obesity is a risk factor for the following types of cancers:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrial
  • Esophageal
  • Gall Bladder
  • Pancreatic
  • Kidney
  • Recurring cancer

Dietary fat:

  • High fat diets are associated with obesity.
  • High intakes of total and saturated fat increases the risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.
  • Animal fat increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Higher Omega-3 versus Omega-6 may reduce the risk of breast cancer.


  • Low protein diets reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Increased red meat intake is associated with an increased risk of colon and advanced prostate cancer.
  • The recommended daily amount of protein is approximately 50-60 grams.
  • 1 ounce of meat = 7 grams of protein.
  • Limit your consumption of red meat.
  • Choose fish, poultry or beans and an alternative to beef, pork, and lamb.
  • When you eat meat, select lean cuts and smaller portions.
  • Prepare meat by baking, broiling or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.


  • Fiber-rich diets protect against colon cancer.
  • Higher intakes of vegetables decrease colon cancer risk.
  • High fiber diets tend to be meat, fat, and refined carbohydrates.
  • A daily fiber goal should be 20-35 grams.

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Increased consumption lowers the risk of most cancers.
  • Flavenoids and lingans are associated with a lower risk of most sex hormone-related cancers.
  • Great sources of antioxidants, Vitamins C, E and Selenium as well as phytochemicals.
  • Eat 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Include vegetables and fruits and every meal and for snacks.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit French fries, potato chips and other fried vegetable products.
  • Choose 100% juice.

Food Safety:

  • Choose in-season, locally-grown produce.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables and remove outer leaves.
  • Use proper food storage to prevent growth of fungal carcinogens.
  • Marinate protein foods to decrease cooking time.
  • Use cooking methods to avoid contact of foods and food drippings with flames.
  • Use lower cooking temperatures with protein foods.


  • Choose whole grains instead of processed (refined) grains and sugars.
  • Choose whole grain rice, bread, pasta and cereals.
  • Limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates, including pastries, sweetened cereals, soft drinks and sugars.