A healthy diet can help you prevent or fight cancer. Here’s how to lower your risk with cancer-fighting foods.

What’s the link between cancer and diet?

Some cancer risk factors, such as genetics and environment, are out of your control, but research suggest that about 70% of your lifetime risk of cancer is within your power to change, including your diet. Avoiding cigarettes, limiting alcohol, reaching a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise are all great steps for preventing cancer. Adopting a healthy diet can also play a vital role.

What you eat—and don’t eat—can have a powerful effect on your health, including your risk for cancer. While research tends to point to associations between specific foods and cancer, rather than solid cause-and-effect relationships, there are certain dietary habits that can have a major influence on your risk. For example, eating a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil can lower your risk for a variety of common cancers, including breast cancer. Conversely, a diet that includes a daily serving of processed meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer.

If you have a history of cancer in your family, making small changes to your diet and behaviors now can make a big difference to your long-term health. And if you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, eating a nutritious diet can help support your mood and strengthen your body during this challenging time.

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