How can consumption of certain food – for example red meat, salt or sugar – increase someone’s risk for developing cancer?

Eating a healthy diet is not only part of improving your overall health but also part of reducing your risk of getting cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOff Site Icon (CDC).

The foods we eat regularly make up our diet, and diet is one of many things being studied as a risk factor for cancer, according to the National Cancer InstituteOff Site Icon (NCI). For example, some studies have shown:

  • Fruits and non-starchy vegetables could help protect against mouth, esophagus and stomach cancers
  • Fruits might protect against lung cancer
  • High-fat, protein, calories, and red meat diets could increase the risk of colorectal cancer

To reduce your cancer risk by watching what foods you eat, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid creamy sauces and dressings for fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grains
  • Don’t eat salty foods
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Limit eating refined carbohydrates, including candy, pastries, sweetened breakfast cereal and other high-sugar food
  • Limit the amount of processed meats you eat, including bacon, sausage, lunch meats and hot dogs

For more information about how foods increase your cancer risk, talk with your doctor.

Learn more: