Sweat for at least 30 minutes a week
When it comes to preventing cancer, exercising is just as crucial as eating right: One third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. every year are linked to diet and physical activity. While the American Cancer Society recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) weekly, research has found shorter workouts can be effective, too. A 2010 study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that just 30 minutes of weekly physical activity was enough to reduce women’s chances of developing breast cancer—which affects 1 in 8 U.S. women—by 35 per cent. “Physical activity alone has a lot of protective effects,” says Ganz. “Aside from helping to maintain a normal weight, it contributes to reducing inflammation. That, in turn, may discourage cells in the body that are going down the path of malignancy from continuing on that route.”
Skip the booze…mostly
Alcohol is the culprit behind several cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, colon, and breast. The exact reason isn’t known, but researchers think alcohol may damage body tissue. In the colon, for example, bacteria can convert alcohol into large quantities of acetaldehyde, a chemical that’s known to cause cancer in lab animals. In women, consuming liquor causes levels of estrogen (the hormone involved in breast-tissue growth) to spike, which potentially increases the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends women limit alcohol consumption to one drink daily, but less is more, says Ganz. “A couple drinks a week isn’t a big deal, but daily drinking may carry some risk,” she says.