1. Eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Be adventurous, and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in any form – canned, fresh, frozen, or dried. Plant foods are rich in fiber and many disease fighting chemicals.
Fruit serving sizes
1 cup fresh
1 tennis-ball sized piece
½ cup canned
¼ cup dried
4 oz. 100% juice
Vegetable serving sizes
1 cup raw
½ cup cooked
6 oz. 100% vegetable juice
2. Choose whole grains more often.
The new labeling of "whole grains" on packages can help you pick these good grains more often. Look for the word "whole" on the package and in the ingredient list (on the nutrition label), making sure that whole grains appear among the first items listed. Then also check the amount of fiber the product contains. Try to choose items with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving for the best benefit.
3. Limit consumption of beef, pork, lamb, and processed meats.
Choose poultry or fish more frequently than red meat, and limit processed meats. Smaller portions of meat, consumed less often (a 12-ounce porter house is really three servings, not one), are also beneficial. Most people do not need to consume more than six to eight ounces of meat daily. Try replacing meat with dried beans for more fiber. One half cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as in 1 ounce of meat.
4. Try the following cooking methods more frequently.
Steaming, poaching, stewing, microwaving, braising, and boiling can prevent carcinogen development. If you are grilling, you can remove skin on chicken or fish to reduce exposure. And do not forget – it is important to make sure your meat gets cooked thoroughly before eating it.
5. Aim for adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
If you choose to consume more than two or three servings of dairy every day as a source of calcium, you will want to choose low-fat versions. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure (without a sunscreen) two times per week is adequate to maintain vitamin D levels, so it is important to wear sunscreen for any additional time in the sun.
6. Get active.
You should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week; 45 to 60 minutes is preferred for most individuals. (You should always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.)
7. Maintain a healthy weight.
- United States Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate.gov. Accessed 5/30/2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition for Everyone: Nutrition Basics. Accessed 5/30/2013.
- Barrett KE, Barman SM, Boitano S, Brooks HL. Chapter 26. Digestion, Absorption, & Nutritional Principles. In: Barrett KE, Barman SM, Boitano S, Brooks HL, eds. Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology. 24th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. Accessed 5/30/2013.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic 216.444.3771 or toll-free 800.223.2273 extension 4-3771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/.
This document was last reviewed on: 5/29/2013...#14122