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Running, Healthy Foods, And Cancer Prevention

Do you really know the health benefits of an active lifestyle such as running? How about eating healthy foods? The impact that these two areas have on cancer prevention appear to be extremely significant.

What Kind Of Impact?

The American Institute for Cancer Research and other member organizations of the World Cancer Research Fund International performed a huge task of analyzing all of the current scientific studies on 17 different cancers, causes of obesity, cancer survivors and other reports on chronic disease.

Then a panel of 21 world renowned scientists evaluated the huge amount of data and recently reported on their finding in a report called Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. You can look at the summary (16 page) and full expert report (537 pages) over at under the Expert Report quick links section. (Click ‘cancel’ if you don’t feel like entering any personal info when looking at the report. The information will still be displayed.)

We are looking at prevention here! It is so great to see that people are also looking deeply into the prevention side of things versus only treatment.

As can be noticed by the report title, these organizations focus on the relationship of diet, physical activity, and weight in relationship to cancer.

This is a very powerful quote from the report:

…the Panel judges that avoidance of tobacco in any form, together with appropriate food and nutrition, physical activity, and body composition, have the potential over time to reduce much and perhaps most of the global burden of cancer.

How does much or most cancer eliminated sound? Powerful, extremely powerful! This shows that most of us have a large amount of control over the quality of our life and whether cancer will ever be encountered. If you are interested in keeping a high quality of life throughout your years, focus on health my friends. It sure seems to put the odds in your favor.

The Data Summary

This very interesting Summary of conclusions foldout provides an easy to read chart of the Panel’s findings and displays a cancer risk range that includes Convincing decreased risk up to Convincing increased risk associated with a particular portion of the body in relation to food, nutrition, activity, and lifestyle choices.

I thought it was a bit interesting to note a few of the items that affected us the most in both negative and positive ways.

The very bad:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meat (hot dogs, deli meat, etc)
  • Arsenic in drinking water
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Body fatness

I was a bit surprised that red meat has such a negative impact on health. Processed meats didn’t surprise me, just look at the ingredient list. Yummy will not be the first thing that comes to mind. If you would like to see some up close pictures of a few of these delicacies, take a look at Mystery Meat Macrophotography.

The very good:

  • Non-starchy vegetables (ex: green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, and other examples from Mayo Clinic)
  • Fruits
  • Physical activity

Sometimes life can look pretty simple. These items definitely tell me to stick with the basics and move the body. If you don’t like vegetables, find a way, find a way, find a way.

The Personal Recommendations

The report also includes eight public/personal recommendations and two special recommendations for a subset of society.

Let’s take a high level look at them.

  1. Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight (BMI calculator)
  2. Be physically active as part of everyday life
  3. Limit consumption of energy dense foods and avoid sugary drinks
  4. Eat mostly foods of plant origin
  5. Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat
  6. Limit alcoholic drinks
  7. Limit consumption of salt and avoid moldy grains and legumes
  8. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone
  9. Breastfeeding: Mothers to breastfeed, children to be breastfed
  10. Cancer Survivors: Follow the recommendations for cancer prevention

Also highly emphasized even though not a specific recommendations is to not smoking and reduce/eliminate your exposure to smoke.

For more detailed explanation concerning each section refer to chapter 12 of the full report or check out the summary report. The full report goes into a bit more depth per recommendation than the summary.

What a list! If you stop and think about it, they all make a lot of sense. I had no idea on the potential dangers of moldy grains and legumes. The concern is with aflatoxins which are produced by some molds when foods are stored too long in warm temperatures.

For physical activity it was interesting to see the more detailed recommendation which includes 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking daily. Then as fitness improves aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate or 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity each day.

This would be considered a pretty serious workout schedule for most people including me. I am currently running 5 days per week and do strength training on the other two days. I definitely don’t currently hit the hour mark each day.

How to fit it in within a daily schedule? Check out my article on how to get consistent exercise for some suggestions.

Within the limit dense food recommendation, the report actually had the guts to say “consume ‘fast foods’ sparingly, if at all”. This is great to hear stated in a report of this stature. We need to hear this kind of truth.

It also appears that the document will be periodically updated as new research findings become available. Gotta love that! The beauty of this document is that it provide some hugely powerful and life changing information in one location.

For a nicely formatted reminder card, you could print and cut out the Recommendations portion of this foldout from the report and place on the fridge or wherever you want to be reminded.

There Is More!

I became aware of this report while reading a article and Mike Adams included some additional recommendations that could reduce the world cancer rates by 90% or more.

The add-ons include:

  • Vitamin D – Get some sun!
  • Avoid consuming artificial sweeteners
  • Avoid using cancer causing personal care products – Look for alternate natural care products.
  • Breast thermograms instead of mammograms

A World Of Opportunity Awaits

This information was so fascinating to me that I really wanted to share it with you all because the impact could be world changing. We have so much more power to impact our health either positively or negatively than we may have realized.  Share this report or the findings with friends and family. It can make a difference.

Do we really want sick-care to be one of the top four things that our government spends our money on? This current paradigm is not sustainable.

For some the list may seem overwhelming. Guess what? You don’t have to do everything tomorrow. Take it one step, one recommendation at a time. This may be a lifestyle overhaul if you so choose. Be excited and proceed at a pace that is sustainable for you.

As with any major lifestyle change (diet, exercise, etc), it may be beneficial to talk with a knowledgeable health care provider. Share your plans and goals. Heck, even share this report with them. They may be able to include some additional insight and things to be aware of.

Are the benefits of active lifestyle and healthy food choices apparent? I hope so.

Happy Training!

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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