(NaturalNews) We all know that exercise is good for you and can help you lose weight, but when it comes to cutting your risk of cancer and obesity, exercise alone is simply not enough. While exercise is something that should certainly be encouraged, reducing caloric intake and eating healthy food plays an even bigger role than working out when it comes to cancer prevention.
Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center carried out a study to look at how a program of either diet only, exercise only, a combination of both, or no changes in health habits would affect a person’s weight and levels of the proteins that are associated with cancer. They looked at 439 Seattle women aged 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to one of the four groups. All of the women who participated were post-menopausal and overweight or obese with a sedentary lifestyle, but were otherwise healthy.
The study, which was published in the American Association for Cancer Research’s journal Cancer Research, found that the overweight and obese women who most dramatically reduced their weight and cancer-related protein levels were in the group that improved diet as well as exercise.
Meanwhile, those who did exercise on a regular basis without changing their habitual intake of calories did not register significant improvements in weight or suspect proteins.
The study’s co-leader, Dr. Catherine Duggan, called the results “surprising.”
The women who were in the diet-only group followed a weight loss diet that entailed reducing their fat to less than 30 percent of their total calories. This group noted weight loss of 8.5 percent from starting weight on average after a year. Those who adhered to the same diet and also exercised at a moderate to vigorous level 45 minutes a day for five days a week, lost an average of 10.8 percent of their starting weight in a year.
However, those who only did the exercise program without adjusting caloric intake lost just 2.4 percent of their starting weight after the year was over.
Cancer-related protein levels improved by healthy eating habits
In addition to weight, three proteins that play a role in angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels, were measured using blood samples. These proteins play a role in helping cancer cells grow and survive. Those in the exercise-only group did not note reduced levels of cancer-associated proteins.
Consuming lots of fruits and vegetables key component of program
The women who were in either the diet-only or diet-and-exercise groups did note significantly lower levels of those proteins after a year, implying that diet plays a bigger role than exercise. The women in the programs with a dietary component had regular meetings with dietitians, who encouraged them to consume more fruits and vegetables, keep track of the food they ate, and practice better portion control.
The scientists point out that it is never too late to switch to a healthier lifestyle that can lower your risk of cancer. If you want to eat more fruits and vegetables like the women in the study did, one convenient way of accomplishing this is by growing your own produce at home. This cuts down on the frequent trips to the store that are typically needed to keep enough fresh produce on hand to reach your daily requirement, and you don’t need to live on a farm to get the job done.
Products like the Garden Tower enable you to grow as many as 50 plants in just four square feet of space, so you’ll always have fresh carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and culinary herbs on hand to keep up with a healthy diet.