What Is A Cancer Preventive Diet

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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A meal comprising 2/3 or more of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and 1/3 or less of animal protein is an ideal cancer preventive diet. This is according to The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR), which has issued guidelines for the public for a diet that is likely to help prevent cancer. It has termed the diet “The New American Plate”. The New American Plate is a marked deviation from a typical American diet as it calls for substituting meat for plant-based foods.

Cancer Preventive Diet

According to The American Institute of Cancer Research, the cancer preventive diet, or The New American Plate, is not a diet, but instead, it is a new way of looking at choosing the foods you consume every day. To prevent chronic diseases as well as cancer, it is best to take a hard look at what foods make it to your plate in every meal. The best way to make a healthy plate is to aim for the following:

  • 2/3 of the plate should be fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
  • 1/3 of the plate should be animal protein

It further states that animal protein can be lesser than the 1/3rd amount and can be replaced by plant-based foods.

A picture representing a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, oil, cheese, bread, egg, and nuts.

A balanced diet should contain vegetables, fruits, fats, proteins and carbs. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Portion Size

While The New American Plate talks about the proportion of food groups, it does not give portion sizes. It instead recommends referring to the USDA standard proportion sizes. So for instance, according to the USDA, a 2000-calorie diet includes:

  • 2 cups of fresh fruit
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetables
  • 6 ounces of grain (preferably whole grain)
  • 5 1/2 ounces of protein (this includes seafood, poultry, lean meat, eggs, soy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds)

While The New American Plate does not mention dairy, the USDA recommends 3 cups of low-fat dairy options of milk or yogurt.

Strategies for Cancer Prevention

The strategy for cancer prevention is fairly simple, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research. The three simple steps as stated are: 

  • Eat mostly plant-based foods, which are low in energy density
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight (by following the cancer-preventive diet with portion control and exercising)

Physically Active

While the meal plan is clearly given in The American Plate, it does not state the guidelines for exercising. Instead, it says to follow the exercise plan according to The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In order to avoid chronic diseases, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise per week. They will also benefit from muscle-strengthening exercise on 2 or more days each week. Younger people, from the age of 6 to 17, need at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity, including aerobic, bone strengthening, and muscle strengthening activity.

If you follow the simple “The New American Plate” program, it is possible to prevent diseases like cancer and live a healthy, happy life.

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About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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