ILOILO CITY – A lifestyle change, including a plant-based diet and being physically active, is the cheapest, most practical and effective way to prevent cancer and other lifestyle-related diseases, a health expert said Tuesday.
“Plant-based diet is not necessarily vegan or not necessarily vegetarian. It’s only saying that your plate should be composed predominantly of whole food,” said Dr. Mechelle Palma, president of the Philippine College of Lifestyle Medicine.
In a media interview, Palma said it means one’s diet must contain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which is a transition from an animal-centric, processed, sugary, and salty-centered diet.
She said foods that increase weight should be limited, like energy-dense and sugary beverages.
It is also recommended to limit the intake of red meat, alcoholic drinks, and salt consumption and avoid processed food.
Around 189 Filipinos out of 100,000 may have cancer, with breast as the most common cancer in the Philippines next to the liver and colon.
“It’s usually women that are affected, and we see that this is related to adiposity, meaning overweight,” Palma said.
She said that while the genetic factor increases the risk of having cancer, the environment, dietary practices, physical activity, and the level of stress “actually determine whether the cancer genes will be expressed or will be suppressed.”
“That’s good news meaning, it's modifiable, you’re not bound to actually get cancer, and you can do something about it,” she added.
Section 16 of Republic Act 11215, or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, mandates the observance of National Cancer Awareness Month every February. (PNA)