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11 Small Changes That Can Actually Help Prevent Cancer

The best way to beat cancer? Prevent it in the first place. These tips are brought to you by Cancer Council NSW.

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1. Eat more whole grains.

Skip the processed white stuff and opt for whole grains and wholemeal foods. These are naturally higher in dietary fibre, which promotes a healthier gut and can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Plus, they're equally (if not more) delicious!

2. Fill up on vegetables and fruit – the more colourful, the better.

Fruit and veg contain anticarcinogenic agents that are thought to help protect against cancer, so you should always try to hit the recommended five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit a day. That doesn't mean having to eat a cup of raw spinach every day – get some recipe inspo here that's as tasty as it is healthy.

3. And cut back on red meat.


Bowel cancer has been linked to people who eat higher amounts of red and processed meat, so keeping your intake to 65g–100g of lean meat three to four times a week can help to reduce your risk. Even try swapping turf for surf – some studies have suggested that eating fish may even protect against cancer.

5. Take the stairs.

No, not just to avoid awkward lift chat (though that's a bonus). You should try to be as active as you can as often as you can. Research recommends 30 minutes of vigorous activity (like jogging) or 60 minutes of moderate activity (like brisk walking) a day, but hey, anything is better than nothing.

6. Maintain a healthy body weight.

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of cancers such as bowel, kidney, liver, and more – that's why it's important always to stay in shape. The best way to do this is by keeping active and eating well, so skip the unsustainable diet fads (no matter how appealing they look on Instagram).

7. Protect yourself when you're out in the sun.

Next time you need an excuse to buy a new pair of shades, remember most skin cancers can be prevented by covering up and protecting yourself from the sun when UV levels are three or higher. That doesn't just mean wearing sunscreen – put on a shirt, sunnies (woo!), and a hat, and ideally seek some shade too.

8. Cut back on the booze.

OK, so you probably (definitely) don't want to hear this, BUT listen up because it's important. Alcohol can increase the risk of numerous cancers such as mouth, throat, liver, and bowel, and the more you drink, the higher your risk. Try to limit yourself to no more than two standard drinks a day, and have a few alcohol-free days a week.

9. Eat at home more often.

It's easier to keep track of what's in your food if you prepare it yourself. Hot tip: If you're short on time, a chicken breast and some simple steamed veggies can really hit the spot.

10. Keep an eye on your sodium intake.

High-salt diets have been linked to a higher risk of stomach cancer. A lot of prepackaged foods come loaded with hidden salts, so aways check the label and try to keep your consumption to under 2,300mg sodium (or 1.5 teaspoons of salt) a day.

11. Get to know your body.

Familiarising yourself with your body and what's "normal" for you makes it easier for you to notice when things change. Get in the habit of checking your moles and breasts regularly, and if you do notice something different, visit your doctor immediately.

All facts provided by Cancer Council NSW and all images courtesy of Thinkstock.

Cancer Council NSW is working every day to try to help beat cancer. What will you do today to help fight it?

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