Recently by Adelina Espat

improve your diet and take Healthy Bites.JPGWant to jumpstart your healthy new year? MD Anderson's Healthy Bites challenge may be perfect for you.

"Healthy Bites helps adults take small steps toward adopting a healthier diet," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson and the Healthy Bites challenge coach. "Each month, we encourage participants to focus on one diet change that can potentially reduce their risk for cancer."

Want to learn more? Below, Herndon answers frequently-asked questions about nutrition, dieting and Healthy Bites.

What's the best diet for preventing cancer?

Truthfully, I don't recommend a specific diet. Instead, I tell people to focus on a lifestyle and mindset change.

Take This Breast Test

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121011PinkRibbon3.jpgBreast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to test your breast IQ. Find out how much you really know about what it takes to be on guard against this common disease.

Separate fact from fiction
Can you guess which of the statements below are true and which are false?

1. True or false? Breast cancer always comes in the form of a lump.

FALSE. Breast cancer in its earliest stages usually doesn't have any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it's not always in the form of a lump. Be on the lookout for any of the signs below and report them to your doctor right away.

    • Lump in your breast
    • Swelling in or around your breast, collarbone or armpit
    • Skin thickening or redness in or around your breast
    • Breast warmth and itching
    • Nipple changes or discharge
    • Breast pain
2. True or false? If you have a male relative who's had breast cancer, you may be more likely to get breast cancer.

How to score prostate health

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120917active senior.JPGSeptember is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. In observance of this month, MD Anderson encourages men to start making healthier choices for prostate health.

It's true no doctor can guarantee you won't get cancer if you make these healthy choices. But, the research is clear on this point --making healthy choices now means you'll be less likely to develop the disease later.

And, even if you do get prostate cancer, being in tip-top shape can up your odds of successfully treating the disease if needed. 

Follow the advice below for better health.

Get your heart pumping daily
What are you doing to stay active every day? It's an important question because 30 minutes of exercise can help lower your cancer risk. And, for those who get prostate cancer, a recent study says exercise improves your chances of survival.

Luckily, exercise doesn't have to mean going to gym.

Activities, like mowing the lawn or playing golf, can count as exercise. The trick is to be able to talk but not sing when doing these activities.

grilledveggies.jpgPlanning a summer barbecue? Before you fire up, beware.

Convincing research shows that many meats traditionally served at barbecues may increase your risk for colorectal cancer. And, even some 'safer' meats can expose you to cancer-causing agents if they're cooked improperly.

But don't cancel your barbecue plans just yet. We've listed some of our top tips to give your next grilling event a healthy makeover.

Following these tips may help ensure you continue to enjoy grilling for many summers to come.

By Adelina Espat and Laura Nathan-Garner

cancerfightingdrinks.jpgLooking for a treat to beat the heat? Try one of these cancer-fighting drink recipes.

Each provides plenty of fruity flavors with cancer-fighting vitamins and nutrients for just a fraction of the calories and sugar found in most beverages.

Citrus punch
This first recipe is a sweet way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. The orange juice and cranberry juice in this recipe offer a healthy dose of cancer-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C. You'll get the most vitamin C if you use freshly- squeezed orange juice, but refrigerated or frozen concentrate also will do the body good.

Get our recipe for Citrus Punch.

Sparkling grape party punch

Want to offer a festive alternative to alcohol at your next gathering? Serve this punch recipe. The grapes and grape juice provide a powerful dose of resveratrol -- the same cancer-preventing antioxidant in red wine -- with none of alcohol's drawbacks. And the citrus juices in the recipe give you a generous amount of vitamin C.

Get our recipe for Sparkling Grape Party Punch.

Be Fit to Beat Cancer

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DePinhofitness.JPG"We'll kick cancer butt." That's what Ronald DePinho, M.D., MD Anderson's new president, said in a recent interview. And, as a Tae Kwon Do master, DePinho probably could do literally just that.

While he may not be kicking and punching his way through the research lab, DePinho does give significant credit to his martial arts training for teaching him the fundamentals to a fulfilling life. This includes the importance of taking care of one's health.

By working in at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical exercise - weight training, elliptical, or martial arts training every day, DePinho takes an active role in lowering his chances for many common cancers.  And, he encourages others to do their part to maintain better health and a more balanced life.

Here's what DePinho said about how he embraces work-life balance in a recent employee blog post:

"Central to functioning on a high level is to invest in one's health. I try to exercise every day, eat properly, avoid excessive alcohol and coffee. I do admit that I often fall short on getting a good night's sleep.

On the job, I am compulsive about time management. A great source of stress derives from the feeling that you do not have control over the demands of your life. At work, I work to ensure that each meeting or activity has a goal and an impactful outcome. To do the best possible work on key tasks, it's important to prioritize and focus until the task is complete. Finally, never stop learning -- education is a lifelong process and the world is not standing still. Invest in one's development.

At home, it's simple -- the key is to ensure you spend quality time with your spouse and children. When with them, BE WITH THEM. It's important to be there mentally and communicate in a deep and meaningful manner

Thanksgiving cheat sheet-turkey-web.jpgThanksgiving is just the first of many winter celebrations that focus on food. At each event, you're surrounded by mouth-watering holiday foods, constantly tempting you to overeat.
"Don't give in, or you might get into the habit of overeating," says Mary Ellen Herndon, MPH, RD, wellness dietitian at MD Anderson. "This can result in unhealthy weight gain that, in the long-run, may make it harder for your body to fight off diseases like cancer."

Test your Thanksgiving serving size IQ by answering the questions below. It'll get you on a healthy start to portion control this holiday season. 

1. How many calories should men and women aim for on their Thanksgiving plate?

a. Men should aim for 700 calories and women 500 calories. That's one-third of their daily caloric needs.
b. Men should aim for 2,000 calories and women 1,500. That's a full day worth of calories. Who needs food the rest of the day?
c. Thanksgiving is just once a year. Forget about the calories!

meatandpotatoes.jpgDoes the idea of a juicy steak and fully loaded baked potato make your mouth water and tummy growl? Well, we've got the perfect quiz for you.

Answer the questions below to test your knowledge on the "the meat and potatoes" behind red meat and cancer risk.

1. How much red meat should a person eat?

a. You shouldn't eat any red meat -- no amount is safe.
b. You can eat as much red meat as you like as long as you eat it before 6:00 p.m.
c. You shouldn't eat more than three, six-ounce (cooked) servings of red meat per week.

2. What does eating red meat have to do with cancer?

a. Red meat contains substances that have been linked to colorectal cancer.
b. People who eat red meat every day are less likely to get cancer.
c. There's no connection between red meat and cancer.

3. Are there any healthy red meat or beef options?

eatinghealthy.jpgExperts at the American Institute for Cancer Research estimate about one-third of the 1.4 million cancers that occur every year in the United States could be prevented, in part, by eating a healthy diet. The food you put in your body plays a vital role in beating this disease.

The April issue of Focused on Health, M. D. Anderson's online healthy living newsletter, shares tips on how to outsmart restaurant menus, talks about the best cancer-fighting foods, and provides recipe and menu ideas to jump-start your cancer prevention diet.

Fight Cancer With Food
What do grapes and broccoli have in common? They both play a "starring role" on our list of cancer-fighting foods. Learn how to fight cancer with fruits and veggies

A Healthy Plan for Dining Out
Boost your restaurant IQ with smart tips to help you steer clear of diet-sabotaging menu items. Get six healthy ideas to outsmart the menu

Easy Ideas to Makeover Lunch
Make healthier choices one meal at a time. Try our five-day lunch menu to give your midday meal extra protective power against cancer. Get healthy lunch ideas.

Fit Food From Many Cultures
Get ready to say "Olé!" Learn about the health benefits found in many cultural dishes. Get low-fat cultural food recipes.

Featured videos include:
Video: Cooking Healthy (1:04:10)
Watch as Scott Uehlein, corporate chef at the world famous Canyon Ranch, demonstrates how to make flavorful healthy meals.


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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center