Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cancer.
A heathy diet cannot guarantee you won’t get cancer but it can reduce the risk. A healthy and balanced diet means eating fruit and vegetables, plenty of wholegrains and healthier sources of protein such as chicken, fresh fish or pulses (lentils and beans).
Some foods can increase your risk of cancer but eating them does not mean that you will definitely get cancer. For a healthy balanced diet, cut down on processed and red meat, alcohol, high-calorie foods and sugary drinks.
Being overweight or obese (very overweight) means your body has more fat compared to your muscle or bones. The extra fat in your body doesn’t just sit there, it is active, sending out signals to the rest of the body. These signals can tell cells in your body to divide more often, which can lead to cancer. Too much extra weight can also increase your risk of certain types of cancer, as well as your risk for cancer coming back after treatment.
How can being overweight cause cancer?
Fat cells can increase inflammation and make extra hormones, which in turn cause cells in your body to divide more often and increases the chance of cancer cells being made that can rapidly divide and cause a tumour.
Losing weight or avoiding putting on more weight can help to reduce the risk of cancer. You can use a BMI (body mass index) calculator easily found online to tell if you are a healthy weight for your height.
Tips to help you lose weight:
Being active can lessen the risk of cancer by reducing weight. This helps keep your body and mind healthy, prevents diseases and has many other benefits for your health too.
Being active and a healthy weight can affect the levels of some types of hormones in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers that move around the body to tell different parts what to do. Oestrogen and insulin are hormones that could encourage cells to divide more often. If cells divide too much and grow out of control, this can lead to cancer.
How does being active help to reduce the risk of cancer?
How to get active