Eat & Drink Smart
Diet and leading a balanced lifestyle can play a significant role in reducing your cancer risk. Research has shown that what you choose to put into your body, can impact your health positively or negatively.
CANSA recommends planning balanced meals & cutting down on and even eliminating intake of food or beverages which research has proved to increase cancer risk and / or risk for other non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension.
It is also important to choose healthy food preparation methods and to ensure that food is safe to eat & not contaminated or spoiled.
Find more information on the link between obesity & cancer and colorectal cancer…
Smart vs Unhealthy Choices
CANSA recommends that you:
- Eat at least five portions of fruit (in season) and vegetables daily – choose a variety of fruit and vegetables of different colours for different nutrients
- Aim for three meals per day and snack in between meals on your favourite fruit or vegetable
- Make starchy foods that are high in roughage and whole-grains the basis of most meals
- Eat more fibre, e.g. fruit and vegetables with skins included and whole-grain foods such as Bokomo Weet-Bix and Bokomo Oats (both CANSA Smart Choices) mealie pap, brown rice and sorghum
- Use Canola Oil with a high smoke point of 230 C in all food preparation. It is rich in Omega-3 and has the best ratio (2:1) of Omega-6 to Omega-3. Be Well and Continental Canola Oil are CANSA Smart Choices.
- Choose Canola Margarine products (Blossom Canola Margarine is a CANSA Smart Choice), also with the best ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 and it is trans fat free.
- Drink plenty safe, clean water – drinking enough water not only keeps you hydrated, it also helps food move through the digestive system and carries nutrients to the cells
- Drink rooibos tea, which is rich in antioxidants, low in tannin and caffeine free
Restrict or Limit
- Restrict salt (read fact sheet)
- Restrict sugar and sugar-containing foods and drinks. (A new WHO guideline recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake) – read CANSA Position Statement Artificial Sweetners
- Eat dairy products and animal protein in moderation – choose low-fat milk and hormone-free dairy products (Fair Cape Free Range Rooibos Yoghurt is a CANSA Smart Choice)
- Restrict animal and saturated fats
- Limit meat and rather eat more fish, beans, lentils and soya products
- Limit your intake of processed, cured and smoked foods such as biltong, bacon, polony, ham, russians and vienna sausages
- Limit intake of processed, refined and fast foods – check labels of processed foods like confectionaries for trans fat contents (trans fats are restricted to less than 2% by law)
- If you have fruit juice, drink unsweetened, pure juice and dilute with water
In the light of scientific evidence, CANSA advocates against the consumption of alcohol in any form, be it beer, wine or distilled spirits.
Alcohol use is a cause of cancer. Any level of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer; the level of risk increases in line with the level of consumption.
There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites [in the body], and probably others. The evidence supports “a causal association of alcohol consumption” with cancer in the oropharynx (a part of the throat), the larynx, the oesophagus, the liver, the colon, the rectum and the female breast. Recent studies found that the risk of developing breast cancer in men increased by 16% per 10 g alcohol / day.
Find more information regarding food to be avoided or healthy options in our Balanced Lifestyle Fact Sheet…
What Does a Balanced Meal Look Like?
- Infographic – ‘Eat & Shop Smart’: English | Afrikaans – see what your dinner plate & trolley should look like…
- Plan balanced meals – see eating, cooking & drinking tips: English | Afrikaans
- Position Statement: ‘Components CANSA Recommended Diet’
- Position Statement: Ketogenic Diet
- Poster: ‘Seasonal Fruit & Veg’ – Add seasonal fruit & veg to meals…
Prepare your food by baking or steaming using a Russell Hobbs steamer (a CANSA Smart Choice) & cut down on frying and braaing. Cooking oil should not be re-used.
Recent research has shown that cooking certain meats at high temperature creates chemicals that are not present in uncooked meats. Some of these chemicals may increase the risk of cancer. High temperature cooking includes pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame. Never eat burnt meat.
- Note the dangers of meat cooked at high temperatures & find tips for a healthier braai (limit braaing to twice per week)
- Note the dangers of Sodium Benzoate, and Sodium Benzoate in combination with Vitamin C (read food / drink labels)
- Read more about Aflatoxins in agricultural products intended for human consumption
See health benefits of:
- Canola Oil – Health Benefits
- Garlic Use to Reduce Cancer Risk
- Honeybush Tea
- Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
- Palmitoleic Acid (Omega-7)
- Potable Water & Cancer Risk Reduction
- Pulses (Infographic)
- Rooibos Tea
- Vitamin D
Keep Food Safe
Store food with care – use clingwrap free of harmful plasticisers, e.g. in-house products of Checkers, Pick n Pay, Shoprite and Spar, as well as the brand name product, GLAD Wrap (a CANSA Smart Choice).