Cancer Prevention

What You Eat May Affect Your Risk of Cancer

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

The power to help prevent cancer may be on your dinner plate, says Henry Ford Health System family medicine doctor Eshel Turk, M.D. Making the right food choices actually can help reduce your risk for several cancers. Follow these healthy eating strategies to get the most from your diet.

Increase Your Fiber

The most common cancer linked to diet is gastrointestinal cancer, which includes colon cancer. You can help prevent colon cancer by increasing your dietary fiber. Look for fiber in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.

It should be noted that if you take the blood thinner Coumadin, you might need to limit how often you eat green, leafy vegetables. However, you may benefit from a fiber supplement like Metamucil. Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking it.

Avoid Fatty Foods

Try to eat fewer fried or fatty foods, which have been linked to breast cancer. Fatty foods include red meat and fast foods. Diets high in fat also tend to be high in calories, which can lead to obesity, another risk factor for cancer. Choose lean chicken breasts rather than beef, and order salads at restaurants instead of burgers.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

While you may have heard that a glass of wine a day is good for the heart, keep in mind that overindulging can lead to other health problems. Excessive drinking has been linked to liver cancer, breast cancer in women and some mouth cancers. Women should limit themselves to one alcoholic beverage a day. For men, the maximum is two.

Eshel Turk, M.D., is a family medicine physician seeing patients at Henry Ford Medical Center – East Jefferson in St. Clair Shores. For an appointment, visit or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).