Written by: Melanie Darbyshire

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. It’s a time to not only learn more about cancer, but to learn about what we can do, in our daily lives, to lower our chances of getting the disease. For as far as we’ve come in terms of cancer treatments, we have learned much in terms of prevention as well. And prevention, as they say, is key.

First some sobering statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS): cancer is the leading cause of death among Canadians and is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths. Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer in Canada and account for half of all new cancer cases. The disease mostly affects Canadians aged 50 and older, but can occur at any age (childhood cancer is relatively uncommon, though it is the most common disease-related cause of death in children).

Based on 2010 estimates, 2 out of 5 Canadians (45 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women) are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 out of 4 Canadians (29 per cent of men and 24 per net of women) are expected to die from the disease.

According to the CCS, about half of all cancers can be prevented – great news, if you know how to prevent them!

One of the most important steps a person can take is to STOP SMOKING – smoking is responsible for 30 per cent of all cancer deaths. Another critical step: maintain a healthy body weight. Those with excess body weight have an increased likelihood of many cancers including esophageal, uterine, liver, kidney, pancreatic breast (post-menopausal) and colorectal.

Related to body weight is the food we eat – also key to cancer prevention. The CCS recommends a diet high in fibre, fruits and vegetables and plant foods, such as whole grains and beans, and low in processed and red meats.

The American Institute for Cancer Research identifies certain foods which help to fight cancer. These include apples, blueberries, broccoli & cruciferous vegetables, carrots, cherries, coffee, cranberries, dark green leafy vegetables, dry beans and peas, flaxseed, garlic, grapefruit, grapes and grape juice, soy, winter squash, tea, tomatoes, walnuts and whole grains. The gist of it is: a diet filled with a variety of plant foods helps lower your risk for many cancers.

At Made Foods, nutritious, fresh, whole and unprocessed food is what we’re all about. We use key cancer-fighting ingredients in practically every meal we make. Whether it’s the Beet & Orange Smoothing (which includes blueberries and carrots) or Robin’s Roasted Veggie Farro Risotto (which contains garlic, squash, tomatoes and carrots) or the Roots & Greens (which includes kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and carrots) or the Super Oat Granola Bars (containing oats, cranberries and flaxseeds), we make eating cancer fighting foods easy and delicious. Just another way Made Foods can make your life easier and, we hope, longer.

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