A recipe of kale, veggies, berries and healthy oils can make for an antioxidant-rich meal that helps fight cancer.
A recipe of kale, veggies, berries and healthy oils can make for an antioxidant-rich meal that helps fight cancer. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Your risk of cancer is influenced by many different factors—some outside your control, but some within.

Diet and lifestyle are two factors you can actively manage. By developing healthier eating habits and engaging in regular physical activity, you can indeed lower your risk of cancer.

Three great paths to cancer prevention?

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Focus on eating plenty of plant-based foods.
  • Eat all colors of fruits and vegetables.

An eye on BMI

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer is to maintain a healthy weight.

Obesity and being overweight can lead to an increased risk of cancer and a higher risk of complications associated with cancer.

Talk to your doctor about your height-to-weight ratio and your body mass index. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9.

It’s important to know that BMI does not account for body composition, so it may not be the sole indicator for a healthy weight.

Eat this, not that

Certain foods can increase the risk of digestive cancers.

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Kale slaw

Try this delicious recipe for a healthy meal that has maximum payoff.

  • 1 cup kale, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded rainbow carrots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, no sugar added
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey

In a large bowl, mix together kale, carrots, cranberries and blueberries. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey.

Pour dressing over kale slaw and toss with tongs to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.

Red and processed meats such as steak, pork, ham, bacon and hot dogs can all lead to trouble. Eat them in moderation.

Processed, calorie-dense foods are packed with added sugars. These can lead to weight gain, which ups your risk of developing cancer.

Limit your intake of added sugars from items such as sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts.

The best foods to lower your risk of cancer? Plant proteins—tofu, beans, quinoa, oats—and whole foods. These help you maintain a healthy weight.

Eat the rainbow

You’ve probably heard of free radicals, the chemicals our body needs to perform cellular processes.

When we have them in excess, free radicals can be dangerous to our cells—and this can lead to cancer.

Antioxidants—compounds found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains—can fight and counteract a glut of free radicals. By consuming fruits and vegetables of all colors, you’ll get the greatest amount of antioxidants to reduce cancer risk.

Some good options include dark chocolate, carrots, berries, kale, beans and beets.