This article is dedicated to helping you understand what cancer is and what the current research indicates are the best dietary and lifestyle choices for cancer prevention and to minimizing your risk of cancer.
Cancer is not a single disease. It is actually a broad category of illnesses that are characterized by an uncontrolled growth of certain cells in the body. When cells multiply uncontrolled, a tumor develops. As the tumor grows it can interfere with organ function in the area it is located. Tumors can be either benign (meaning they don’t spread and are unlikely to return after removal) or malignant (cancerous). Cancer prevention begins with knowing what cancer is and isn’t.
There are five basic types of cancer:
- Carcinomas are the most common. They are cancers of the skin, mucous membranes, glands and internal organs and include cancers of the breast, colon, lung, skin, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries, prostate, and uterus.
- Leukemias are cancers of the tissues that produce blood cells including bone marrow, spleen and lymph. Because leukemia results in abnormal blood cell formation, it is often referred to as blood cancer.
- Lymphomas are cancers of the lymph nodes and other lymphatic tissue.
- Myelomas are rare cancers that form in the plasma of the bone marrow.
- Sarcomas are primarily cancers of the bones, muscles and connective tissues.
What many people don’t realize is that cancer cell production in our bodies is a normal phenomenon, so cancer prevention isn’t really totally accurate. With billions of cells produced every minute, every healthy person has hundreds or thousands of cancer cells at any given moment. Under normal conditions, our body’s defense systems recognize and eliminate these unwanted cells. In a healthy individual, there is a balance between cancer cell production and cancer cell destruction. However, age, environmental toxins, nutrient deficiencies, stress, hormone imbalances and other factors can wear down the body’s defenses, making it more difficult for the body to control the growth of these cancerous cells.
Although the exact causes of cancer are not well understood, several factors have been identified as probable contributors including genetics, electromagnetic radiation, radiation, certain medications, pesticides, food additives, cigarette smoke, dietary choices and lifestyle factors. One out of every five deaths in the U.S. is caused by cancer. These statistics are alarming, but the good news is that many forms of cancer can be prevented, and others, if detected and treated early, can be cured.
Below is a list of Cancer prevention dietary and lifestyle do’s and don’ts to help you minimize your risk of cancer:
Do . . .
- Do eat a high-fiber diet consisting of mainly fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and simple, clean, lean protein foods.
- Do include soy (Non-GMO) foods in your diet. Soybeans contain a variety of compounds that act to fight cancer.
- Do include green tea, which is high in substances known as catechins that have anti-cancer properties
- Do eliminate any Subclinical Infective agents from your body to allow the immune system to help fight disease.
- Do enjoy grapes regularly. Research shows that a substance called resveratrol, found in grapes, can help keep cells from turning cancerous and inhibit the spread of cells that are already malignant.
- Do eat as much garlic and onions as you like. A research study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that those who ate the most garlic and onions were 60% less likely to have stomach cancer than those who consumed these vegetables rarely.
- Do get a good green food powder or blend for maximum vitamin and mineral assurance.
- Do include broccoli in your regular diet. Or, even better, add broccoli sprouts to salads. The young sprouts of broccoli plant have been found to contain more sulforaphane (the cancer-fighting compound in broccoli) than the mature vegetable.
- Do eat tomatoes often. In a study in Italy, researches found that people who ate raw tomatoes at least seven times per week cut their risk of developing stomach, bladder and colon cancers by 50%.
- Do include beets in your menu. In a laboratory study of more than sixty fruits and vegetables, beets were named as the richest source of a powerful cancer-fighting agent called beta-cyanin.
- Do drink only pure water. Most municipal water supplies add chlorine to the water. Chlorine-based compounds that are formed in the water supply can mimic the action of the sex hormone estrogen in the body, which can be a problem for those at risk for hormone-related cancers.
- Do get regular exercise. Cancer is less prevalent in physically active people.
- Do minimize contact with and exposure to chemicals such as hair sprays, cleaning compounds, waxes, fresh paints, and garden pesticides.
- Do consult your doctor if you notice any abnormal symptoms such as blood in the urine, stool or other areas, lumps, enlarged lymphs, unusual pain, ulcers that do not heal, ulcerations that don’t heal, chronic constipation, tenderness in the breast (male or female), bleeding between menstrual cycles, etc. Do have a regular physical and ask your physician how to do self-exams for breast, testicular and other types of cancers.
- Do get the best whole food supplements you can find.
Don’t. . .
- Don’t smoke and don’t spend time in rooms where people are smoking. If you currently smoke, quit.
- Don’t consume foods that contain saturated fats, hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils, sugar, coffee, caffeine, and alcohol. If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation only. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the upper and lower digestive tract, liver, prostate, breast and colon.
- Don’t consume foods that are high in salt. Minimize your consumption of salt and animal protein, especially packaged luncheon meats.
- Don’t use chemical personal care or house hold products, such as commercial soaps, shampoos, deodorants, cleansers, etc. They contain harsh chemicals… remember, what goes on, goes IN!!!
Consult your health practitioner on all medications, herbs and supplements you are taking. Consult your health professional before beginning a diet or exercise program. Some herbs can react with medications, both prescribed and over the counter, and some herbal combinations can cause serious side effects.