How can we protect our health?

Establishing healthy eating habits in children will help protect them from serious illness as adults.

Did you know that a fibre-rich diet including 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day can help prevent 1 in 6 bowel cancer cases? Or that eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables helps reduce your risk of oesophageal, lung and some mouth and throat cancers? You hold the cards to reducing your cancer risk.

Evidence now shows that many adult cancer cases are caused by a combination of the following lifestyle choices:

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Being overweight
  • A lack of physical activity
  • Eating too much red and processed meat
  • Not eating enough fruit and vegetables

However simple lifestyle changes can reduce your cancer risk.  

Increase fruit and vegetables intake

  • Pick up fruit and vegetables as your go-to snacks. Grab an apple or banana, or try raw vegie sticks and dip, corn on the cob, or vegie muffins and pikelets
  • Start early in the day. Add chopped fruit to yoghurt or include legumes, spinach and tomato at breakfast
  • Vegie-boost your meals. Try reducing meat and increasing vegetables on pizza and in curries, stir fries and mince dishes
  • Make simple changes every day. Try adding salad to sandwiches, or having extra vegetables with dinner

Reduce red meat and process meat intake

  • Cut out processed meat. Try swapping the prosciutto and pepperoni out of your pizza or pasta for chicken, mushrooms, eggplant, or capsicum
  • Reduce your red meat portions. Try marinated chicken or swap meat for fish a couple of times each week
  • Add eggs, beans, lentils, fish or chicken to your meals for a protein boost
  • Try a vegie pattie burger, vegetable lasagne, tofu stir fry or a falafel wrap

Be more active

  • Break up long periods of sitting or screen time at home and work; get up from your seat every half hour
  • Build at least 30 minutes of walking, swimming or fun in the park into your day
  • Take the stairs, not the lift, or get off the bus 1 stop early
  • Pick up more vigorous exercise. Go for a short jog, a fast cycle or do an aerobics class

To find out your cancer risk, take the Cancer Risk Quiz.


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