Cancer Council Australia

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Eat for health

You can lower your risk of cancer by enjoying a healthy diet, being physically active every day and maintaining a healthy body weight. Studies show being overweight, physically inactive and not eating well increases your risk of developing cancer.

Healthy eating is a first step in reducing your cancer risk. Poor eating habits increase your risk of cancer at many sites in the body. Poor eating habits can also contribute to weight gain, and being overweight or obese increases your risk of cancer. The good news is that a healthy diet, combined with regular physical activity and a healthy body weight can reduce cancer risk.

While there is no one food that can protect against cancer, there are steps you can take to lower your overall risk. A healthy diet may protect against cancers including cancer of the bowel, liver, oesophagus (food pipe), lung and stomach.

Eat more vegetables and fruit

Eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day.

Tips to eat more fruit and vegetables

  • Double your serving of vegetables.
  • Try a new fruit each week.
  • Use frozen vegies for convenience.
  • Include vegies with your lunch.
  • Add extra vegies to all your recipes.
  • Have fruit instead of sweets.

Eat for health

  • Eat a variety of raw and cooked vegetables, fruit and legumes (eg. dried beans, lentils).
  • Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain.
  • Eat red meat no more than three to four times a week. On the other days choose fish, poultry, dried or canned beans or lentils.
  • Choose foods low in salt.
  • Don't eat too much fat, especially saturated fat. Be aware of hidden fats in snack foods, cakes and takeaway foods.
  • Choose low fat yoghurt, cheese and milk.

What about taking vitamin and mineral supplements?

If you enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods you will get the nutrients you need, reduce your cancer risk and be less likely to be overweight or obese. For most healthy people, vitamin and mineral supplements are not necessary when they eat well.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.

Where can I get reliable information?

Cancer Council 13 11 20
Information and support for you and your family for the cost of a local call anywhere in Australia.

Cancer Council Australia website
Nutrition and physical activity 


This page was last updated on: Monday, February 18, 2013

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