Cancer is a growing health risk for much of the Western world, and over the next decade some experts suggest that 50% of the population will develop cancer. The figures are shocking, and it is fortunate that advances in curing cancer are always being made which is meaning many people are recovering from cancer. However, recovery is not a guarantee, and it still takes a massive toll on your health. The healthiest and safest way to beat cancer is to prevent it, not cure it. This article will outline some natural dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to minimize your risk of cancer.
1. Broccoli - Possibly the most potent anti-cancer food of them all (and there are quite a number). A 100g serving of broccoli provides you with nearly 90mg of vitamin C, over 100mcg of vitamin K, and contains a number of other micro nutrients which are needed to maintain a healthy body. These nutrients are associated with protection against cancer, but they aren’t the reason why broccoli is such an effective anti-cancer food. Broccoli (and other cruciferous plants) contain an organosulphur compound called sulforaphane, and it is this compound which makes it such a potent anti-cancer agent. 100g of broccoli (dry weight) contains between 500mg and 1000mg of sulforaphane, and current studies have shown that this compound can reduce the population of the pathogenic bacteria H.pylori which is thought to be the primary cause of stomach ulcers and cancer. Many studies have shown that sulforaphane can reduce the growth of established cancer cells by increasing the expression of a tumor suppressing gene. Some studies have shown it to be particularly effective at preventing breast and prostate cancer. Sulforaphane, combined with the other nutrients in broccoli make it a potent anti-cancer food.
By eating broccoli at least a couple of times a week you can significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
2. Green Tea - Green tea is high a group of polyphenols called catechins particularly one called epicatechin. Polyphenols are a distinct group of micro-nutrients aside from vitamins and minerals, (although when first discovered they were called vitamin-P). Epicatechins are one of the few polyphenols studied in great detail, and, like sulforaphane have been shown to reduce the population of H.pylori, which will reduce the risk of stomach cancer. Furthermore, studies have shown that epicatechins can inhibit the growth and development of a number of cancer cells, particularly breast cancer.
By swapping a one or two cups of coffee/ tea a day with green tea is enough to benefit from these epicatechins, and minimize your risk of cancer.
3. Turmeric – This brightly colored herb has demonstrated extremely powerful health benefits, and it is all down to a unique group of compounds called curcuminoids, particularly curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful inhibitor of an enzyme called COX-2 which is a pro-inflammatory enzyme. Inflammation is an underlying cause for a number of diseases, including cancer, and so by reducing inflammation you reduce the risk of developing a vast number of diseases. Clinical trials with curcumin has also shown that it is able to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells, and prevents its development.
Turmeric is often used in making curries and other Asian based meals, and so preparing a homemade curry with turmeric in once or twice a week is enough to benefit from curcumin. It is important to use healthy and natural ingredients in the curry to ensure that it is healthy. Alternatively turmeric can be added to a number of dishes, such as homemade veggie burgers, as it has a mild taste (but be warned, it will make anything a bright yellow color!).
4. Nuts & Seeds - These are high in essential fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins such as A and E and contain essential minerals such as selenium. All of these nutrients are in high demand by your immune system, and by feeding your immune system, your body is able to destroy cancer cells a prevent their proliferation itself. The immune system is able to identify cancer cells and destroy them, however, if the immune system is over stressed and weakened, cancer cells are able to develop.
By having a handful of mixed nuts and seeds a day will help support your immune system, and help you to protect yourself against cancer development.
5. Cardiovascular exercise – Our body is designed to move and exercise, it is as simple as that. Exercising ensures that we have a strong cardiovascular system and reduces fatty deposits around our organs and under our skin. Exercise has been shown to lower the risk of developing colon cancer and prostate cancer, but has been most effective at protecting against breast cancer. There have been a number of studies which show that regular exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 40% in women.
Jogging, swimming and cycling are all fantastic ways to exercise on your own and with a group, and doing exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week is enough to get the benefits. Many people do exercise more though, as exercising puts you in a good mood with a flood of endorphins in your brain. It you do partake in regular and intense exercise it is important to ensure you are obtaining enough nutrients and water to ensure optimal health. Next up, learn how to protect yourself from dangerous toxins by eating real food.