Cancer Prevention: Nutrition

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According to the American Cancer Society, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention have recently changed to focus on the importance of plant-based foods. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer, recent research has found that a greater intake of fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of a broad range of cancers by approximately 20%.

Specifically, diet and exercise can reduce the risk of recurrence in breast cancer survivors by 20%-90%

A plant-based diet includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Every day, you should aim to eat 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that are high in fat and sodium and limit red meat and processed foods to help maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol level, as excess body fat and high cholesterol are both risk factors for developing cancer. Recently, research has shown that reducing alcohol intake can reduce an individual’s cancer risk, and the American Cancer Society recommends that people who drink alcohol limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women.

Many studies have shown that long-term lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet and exercising, can help reduce the risk of cancer occurrence and recurrence, as well as promote higher energy levels and overall wellbeing. Cone Health has a variety of registered dietitians and cancer care specialists who can help individuals in the community determine the best diet for them.

Support: For more tips on incorporating fruits and vegetables into your every day, watch the Cone Health wellness video, “Healthy Eating for Cancer Prevention,” at


Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes


1.5 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 Tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces kale, wash, removed from stem and sliced into thin strips

½ cup roasted sunflower seeds or pecans (chopped)

1 cup edamame, thawed and shelled


3 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil

½ - 1 small shallot, minced

1 Tablespoon +1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons molasses

1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Toss sweet potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Put on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, vigorously squeeze and massage kale with hands until leaves are darkened and slightly wilted (1 minute for Tuscan kale, 5 minutes for curly kale). Add roasted potatoes, sunflower seeds, and edamame.
  • Mix vinaigrette. Add to salad and toss gently.
  • Serve!

Physician Background:

Laura Jobe is a registered at the Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center and has been working for Cone Health for over 15 years. Laura received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics from Central Michigan University in 1991.