Ten things you can do now to reduce your risk of Cancer

A healthy diet will not cure you of cancer.  However, a wholesome diet and an active lifestyle can reduce your risk and may even enhance the efficacy of your chemotherapy. Here’s why.

  1. Eat more cruciferous vegetables: One characteristic that sets cruciferous vegetables apart from other vegetables is their high glucosinolate content.  Glucosinolate hydrolysis products could help prevent cancer by enhancing the elimination of carcinogens before they can damage DNA, or by altering cell-signaling pathways in ways that help prevent normal cells from being transformed into cancerous cells.
  2. Flavor your food with herbs: While herbs are most known for their anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin in particular appears to inhibit cancer growth and expedite cancer cell death.
  3. What are flavonoids?: Flavonoids are a class of chemicals found in berries, coffee, tea, green vegetables, herbs and legumes such as soybeans. Consumption of certain subclasses are associated with a reduced risk of many kinds of cancers including cancers of the digestive tract, lung, breast, prostate, kidney and thyroid. Possible mechanisms include increased cancer cell death, reduced DNA mutation rates and inhibition of metastasis.
  4. Fruits & Veggies-More Matters™: The results of numerous case-control studies indicate that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of developing a number of different types of cancer, particularly cancers of the digestive tract (oropharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum) and lung. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis conclusively showed that that consumption of apples is associated with a reduced risk of cancer in different anatomical sites.
  5. FolateFolate is a B vitamin needed to regulate DNA expression and to build new cells. Deficiencies are most commonly associated with neural tube defects but are also associated with an increased risk of cervical, breast, colon, brain and lung cancer. High levels can be found in spinach, beef liver, black-eyed peas, Brussel sprouts and asparagus.
  6. Healthy Fat:  Dietary fat is enjoying a bit of a renaissance due, in part, to the health benefits attributed to phytosterols, a type of fat derived from vegetable oils and nuts. Limited data from animal studies suggest that very high intakes of phytosterols, may inhibit the growth of breast and prostate cancer.  Studies to confirm these effects in humans are in progress.
  7. Choline: Choline is an essential macronutrient that is found in eggs, legumes, cuciferous and leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds. Diets low in choline increase therisk for cancers, most notably liver cancer, due to increased DNA mutation rates.
  8. Does sugar feed cancer? All cells use glucose to grow but cancer cells consume it in particularly high amounts. This is why a radiolabeled form of glucose is used to detect cancer cells in PET scanning.  Bottom line-get rid of added sugar.
  9. Eat less animal protein: In his documentary, Forks Over Knives, T. Colin Campbelldescribes how communities that transition from a plant-based to an animal-based diet show an increase in cancers, even in children. Protein intake influences the levels of the growth hormone IGF-I (Insulin Growth Factor-1), which not only affects the growth of healthy cells, but can also encourage cancer cell growth.  This trend can be reversed as communities transition back to a plant-based diet.
  10. Eat Whole Grains: Dietary fiber from whole grains may reduce the risk of cancers of the dietary tract, particularly the colon.  This is because higher fiber intakes are known to speed up the passage of stool through the colon, allowing less time for potentially carcinogenic compounds to stay in contact with cells that line the inner surface of the colon. Clinical studies to confirm this hypothesis are underway.
  11. Bonus suggestion: Even if you have a poor diet you can still reduce your risk of cancer through exercise. Women with high estrogen levels in their blood have increased risk for breast cancer. Since exercise lowers blood estrogen, it helps lower a woman’s breast-cancer risk. Exercise also reduces other cancer growth factors such as insulin.

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