Use nutrition to reduce cancer risk


Today, seven in 10 Americans are obese or overweight. The more overweight you are, the greater your risk for heart disease and cancers of the breast, colon and prostate. Maintaining a healthy weight is a major part of disease prevention. Scientific research studies have shown that restricting calories can help lower your risk of cancer. Part of the idea is that one of the ways you would reduce your calorie intake is not by eating less food or starving yourselves but rather to eat healthier, lower-calorie foods. The fatty animal proteins are most harmful but can be a part of a healthier eating lifestyle if eaten in moderation with other colorful foods such as fruits and vegetables. If you are interested in losing weight or cutting down on calories, you can take in 500 fewer calories a day to lose a pound a week. Research has also shown that recording what you eat and drink in a food log every day can double your weight loss.

Portion control is important. There has also been research to show the benefits of physical activity with regards to risk of cancer. It reduces your risk of developing certain types of cancers as well as help you recover quicker after cancer treatment. Therefore, it is recommended that adults get 30 minutes of physical activity per day at least five days a week. Remember not to skip meals because it can decrease your metabolism and lower your energy levels. Simply choosing foods that are filling but lower in calories can help your health goals.

March is National Nutrition Month, so we are going to provide information about nutrition and how you can use it to reduce your risk for certain cancers over the next month. To join the Cooperative Extension office at our next Lunch ā€˜nā€™ Learn workshop on Tuesday, March 10, bring your $5 to register by Friday, March 6.

Try the following recipe courtesy of the Cooking Matters website at For more information on Food for Thought programs, activities and recipes, check us out online at or email

White Bean Basil Chicken Chili

Serves 6

1 lb. boneless chicken pieces

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 medium tomato

1 large lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh basil

2 (15 1/2oz.) cans great northern beans, no salt added

2 Tbsp. canola oil

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Remove any skin and excess fat from chicken pieces. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. Rinse, peel, and finely chop onion. Peel and mince garlic. Rinse tomato. Remove core and seeds. Chop. Rinse lime. Cut in half. In a small bowl, squeeze juice from one half. Discard seeds. Rinse and chop cilantro and basil. In a colander, drain and rinse beans. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. If onion or garlic start to brown, lower heat. Add chicken, beans, broth, spices, tomato, lime juice, basil, and cilantro. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If using, top with red pepper flakes.
Nutrition information: 310 calories, 10g total fat, 50mg cholesterol, 8g fiber, 28g protein.


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