Many people resolve to live healthier lives in January, but February is another good time to consider healthy lifestyle changes. That’s because it’s National Cancer Prevention Month.

What are 5 lifestyle changes that may help lower your risk of cancer?

Healthy Choices to Reduce Cancer Risk

Different things can influence a person’s risk of developing cancer, including family history and lifestyle. While you may not be able to change your genetics to reduce your cancer risk, you can make other healthy changes.

  1. Get more exercise.

You may already know that physical activity is good for your heart and weight. Did you also know it can help reduce your risk of some types of cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, higher levels of exercise can help reduce the risk of breast, colon, and endometrial cancers. Research also suggests that a sedentary lifestyle can increase your cancer risk, so any exercise is better than none.

  1. Quit smoking.

Smoking harms more than just your lungs. It accounts for about 30 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths, the American Cancer Society reports. Besides lung cancer, it can also increase the risk of mouth, throat, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancers.

Of course, quitting is easier said than done. If you smoke, talk to your physician about your options for kicking the habit.

  1. Limit exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.

Many substances we encounter in our daily lives can influence our cancer risk. You may not be able to change everything about your environment, but there are some choices you can make to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

  • Avoid dry cleaning or choose dry cleaners that use environmentally friendly materials
  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides in your garden
  • Store cleaning products safely and wear protective equipment, such as gloves, when using them
  1. Cut back on red and processed meats.

The American Institute for Cancer Research has found that eating too much processed meat, like lunch meats and hot dogs, can increase your risk of colorectal cancer. The institute’s study indicates that the risk increases by 16 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat eaten daily (about one hot dog).

Researchers also suggest that high consumption of red meat, including beef and pork, can increase cancer risk. Instead, increase your consumption of fish and leaner meats like chicken.

  1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

The institute’s study also found a link between low intake of fruits and vegetables (less than 1 cup a day) and higher risk of colorectal cancer. Consumption of foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and spinach, also may help lower colorectal cancer risk. Try to eat at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day, and incorporate them into every meal and snack.

A healthy lifestyle can lower your cancer risk.

Heritage Senior Living Communities make it easy to follow a healthy lifestyle. Contact us today to learn about our dining programs and exercise activities.