Take Control of Cancer in April

By Emily Fitzgerald, MScFN,RD on April 7 / 2016

[Nutrition, Recipes]Comments

April is an exciting month to take control of cancer for several reasons:

  1. It is National Cancer Control Month
  2. April 7th is World Health Day
  3. I will be launching the 1:1 Nutrition Coaching program here at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation!

In the spirit of National Cancer Control Month I decided to write this blog post related to just that – how to control or decrease your risk of cancer or recurrence of cancer. The good news is that we know ⅓ of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight (1).

When it comes to nutrition there are several proven ways to control your risk. Read on to find out how.

Veg out!

Enjoy a variety of vegetables and don’t forget your daily fruits. Veggies and fruit contain antioxidants, fibre and essential vitamins and minerals which have been associated with a decreased cancer risk (1).

Tip: Fill half of your plate or more with colorful vegetables at mealtime!

Fill up on fibre

Foods that contain fibre include vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. Consuming foods that contain fibre may decrease your risk of colorectal cancer (2).

Tip: Choose bread, cereal and cracker products that list “whole grain” as the first ingredient in the ingredients list.

Eat less sugar, you’re sweet enough already.

Eating an excess amount of added sugar can increase your risk of obesity, which in turn raises your risk of cancer (3). Food companies use added sugar in their products to help improve taste and texture. Be aware and check food labels to help you make healthy, informed decisions.

Tip: Try to make the majority of your meals at home and use fresh, whole ingredients to control the amount of added sugars in your diet.

How much red & processed meat do you eat?

Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb and goat. Processed meat includes bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausages. Processed meats are preserved by curing, salting or smoking or by adding preservatives.  When meat is preserved in these ways, cancer-causing substances may be formed (4). Research has shown that a diet high in red and processed meat can increase your risk of colorectal cancer (4). Limit your intake of red meat to three servings a week and avoid processed meats as much as possible.

Choose chicken, fish and turkey more often. BBQ season is nearing – substitute ground beef burgers for homemade chicken or turkey burgers. Choose delicious meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Tip: One serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains to help decrease your risk of cancer.

If you are interested in learning more about how to decrease your risk of cancer, check out the nutrition workshop I offer, “Cancer Prevention: Back to the Basics.” Click here for further details.

Keep your eyes peeled for more information on 1:1 Nutrition Coaching. I will be sharing the launch of the program on my social media accounts. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Try making this delicious smoothie to help you meet your daily veggie and fruit needs!

Berry Green Smoothie

smoothieServes: 2


¾ cup frozen mixed berries

1 ¼ cup baby spinach

1 small banana

⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup liquid of choice


  1. Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, serve with a straw and enjoy!

Make this recipe your own and substitute the ingredients with your favourite leafy greens and fruits! Try adding in natural almond or peanut butter for a nutty flavour.

Until next time,



  1. Canadian Cancer Society [Internet]. Ottawa: CCS; c2016 [cited 2016 Apr 1]. Diet; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/diet/?region=on.
  1. Eat Right Ontario [Internet]. Toronto: Dietitians of Canada; c2016 [cited 2016 Apr 1]. Lowering your risk for colorectal cancer; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cancer-Prevention/Lowering-your-risk-for-colorectal-cancer.aspx
  1. Canadian Cancer Society [Internet]. Ottawa: CCS; c2016 [cited 2016 Apr 1]. Sugar; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/live-well/nutrition-and-fitness/eating-well/sugar/?region=on
  1. Canadian Cancer Society [Internet]. Ottawa: CCS; c2016 [cited 2016 Apr 1]. Red and processed meat; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/live-well/nutrition-and-fitness/eating-well/red-and-processed-meat/?region=on#ixzz44b9t0pwg

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