Cancer Fighting Basics: 9 Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Cancer Prevention

I believe the best way to fight cancer is to focus on cancer prevention.

The fact is, preventing any disease is way easier than healing from it, and some basic strategies (like our daily diet and lifestyle habits) can help us.  

The role diet and lifestyle play in keeping us healthy and cancer-free is truly profound, yet often overlooked.  After reviewing the available studies, researchers of an article published in the National Library of Medicine database concluded that cancer is a preventable disease.  “Only 5-10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects,” they said, “whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle.”  

So, what this tells us is that what we eat and how we live matters.  

Cancer prevention encompasses a multitude of factors. In this article, I will explore nine of the diet and lifestyle practices that support cancer prevention. Nail these nine down and your odds of preventing cancer improve.

1. Eat a Nutrient-Rich, Whole-Food Diet:

A well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet made up of whole foods is the cornerstone of cancer prevention. Incorporate a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are known for their cancer-fighting properties. Additionally, add herbs and spices to your diet and choose whole grains, lean plant-based proteins, and healthy fats to create a diverse and nourishing plate.

2. Manage Stress:

Chronic stress can negatively impact your health and potentially contribute to cancer risk. Incorporate stress management techniques into your routine, such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.

3. Limit Processed Foods and Sugars:

Processed foods and added sugars have been linked to inflammation and an increased risk of certain cancers. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurters as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer.

A good cancer prevention strategy is to minimize your intake of processed meats, snacks, sugary beverages, and refined carbohydrates. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

4. Get Regular Exercise:

Engaging in regular physical activity not only contributes to maintaining a healthy weight but also has direct cancer-fighting benefits. While Gayle was under treatment at the cancer clinic in Germany, taking a walk outdoors for 30 minutes every day was part of her treatment plan.  Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Exercise helps regulate hormones, improve immune function, and reduce inflammation.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise can contribute to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Consult with healthcare professionals or your trusted functional nutritionist for personalized guidance.  

6. Prioritize Sleep:

Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. During deep sleep, the body undergoes crucial repair and regeneration processes. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support your body’s natural defense mechanisms.

7. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer. If you are trying to prevent cancer, I would avoid alcohol altogether. 

8. Stay Hydrated:

Staying adequately hydrated is crucial for overall health and cancer prevention. Water helps flush toxins from the body and supports cellular functions. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day, and consider incorporating herbal teas and fresh juices to enhance hydration and provide additional nutrients. Our two favorite juices are carrot juice and celery juice.  

9. Optimize Vitamin D Levels:

Higher serum levels of Vitamin D were found to reduce the risk of many cancers. A study by GrassrootsHealth showed that a higher Vitamin D level will help reduce your risk of breast cancer by 80%. 

The best way to get Vitamin D is through sunshine. Sunlight not only affects your cancer risk but your overall good health in many different ways.  Spending 10-20 minutes in the sunshine, two times a week, while wearing as little clothing as possible, is the best way to get your weekly dose of Vitamin D. Unfortunately for many of us living north of the equator, we may not be able to get what we need from the sun.  Supplementing is your best bet.  The good news: Vitamin D supplements are cheap. 

The next question is always, how much do I take?  Well, that depends.   

How much Vitamin D you take depends on what your Vitamin D level is and the only way to know that is to do a blood test.  Ask your doctor to run a test for you.  Once you know your level, you and your trusted health care provider can figure out the right dose to take, if any.  

Remember, it’s less about what specific dose you should take and more about what specific dose you need to take to get your blood serum Vitamin D level at the optimum range. 

So, what is the optimum blood serum range?

To maintain good health, the optimum range suggested by many studies is 40-60 ng/ml.  However, if you are dealing with a chronic condition, other studies and health providers suggest the optimum range is nearer 60-80 ng/ml. You will want to discuss what level is best for optimizing your health situation with a trusted nutritionist or health care professional. 


Empowering yourself with knowledge and making conscious choices in your diet and lifestyle can significantly contribute to cancer prevention. By adopting these basics, you not only support your overall health and well-being but actively engage in a journey towards a resilient and vibrant life.


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Picture of Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.