Simple Steps for a Healthier SummerThe American Institute for Cancer Research has come up with some great summer ideas that will make a big difference in your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer. They're small, targeted steps, but they can do a lot to change the big picture! Staying fit and healthy can be difficult anytime, but these simple changes are great steps to ease positive changes into your lifestyle!
- Trade in the soda and sugary drinks for water and fruit-infused water. Despite all the warnings about soda, 48% of Americans consume soda daily ... and they're drinking 2.5 glasses a day! These calories can contribute to excess weight gain, a factor in cancer risk. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice with a few strawberries into a glass of ice water ... it's more refreshing and healthier!
- Having a hard time scheduling a traditional gym workout? Go for several breaks throughout the day. It has long been accepted that inactivity plays a part in cancer risk and new research indicates that sitting for long periods of time can increase cancer risk even among people who exercise daily. Rev up your day with walks, take on a few flights of stairs during your break, stand up while you're on the phone ... get creative! The American Institute for Cancer Research advises at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
- Drop the full-fat ice cream and opt for a fruity berry/yogurt parfait, frozen yogurt or sorbet. Make fruit the star of dessert. Ice cream can come with the hefty price tag of 270 calories and 18 grams of fat into half a cup! You'll not only slash the number of calories you take in, you'll receive the nutritional bonus that comes with berries and fruit juices!
- Go for the home-cooked meal instead of dining out. It may seem easier and faster to eat out and cooking can be draining in this weather, but people consume 50% more calories, fat and sodium when eating out instead of at home! Dining out also limits the variety, availability and amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other vitamin-rich "super foods" that reduce the risk of cancer.
- Expand your salad horizons! Replace that iceberg lettuce with nutrient-rich like spinach, arugula, collards, and kale. Many consider greens the number one food you can eat regularly to help improve your health. They provide fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and research shows that dark leafy greens can protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.
- Say 'no thanks' to white bread. The important nutrients found in whole grains have been removed from refined grains. The outer layer of a grain is rich in minerals, vitamins and important phytochemicals and they're rich in dietary fiber to protect against colorectal cancer.
- Love barbecue but concerned about the carcinogens created when meat chars? Try veggies .. grill up a portabella mushroom or a veggie kabob. Veggies don't create carcinogens when they brown. For extra flavor, marinade your veggies first. If you don't have time to marinade, brush lightly with olive or canola oil for that great, carmelized flavor. Not only are veggies rich in nutrients and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, they will help you cut down on red meat. Remember, consuming too much red meat raises the risk of colorectal cancer so try to restrict your red meat intake to no more than 18 ounces per week.