10 Tips To Reduce Your Cancer Risk
By Cindy Santa Ana
Cancer is expected to affect 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in their lifetime and every day, nearly 1,600 Americans die from cancer. 1.6 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year! In my opinion, that’s way too many!
According to BreastCancer.org, only 10% of breast cancers are genetic, which leaves a full 90% to our environment! Currently, many well-meaning professionals in the medical community focus primarily on symptom reduction and masking a problem, rather than prevention and treating the root cause. The good news when it comes to disease, including cancer, is that there are quite a few things you can do to mitigate your risk and exposure to cancerous toxins.
10 Tips to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
1. Reduce your sugar intake. Cancer feeds on sugar and sugar promotes cancer cell growth. Look at food ingredient labels and reduce your consumption of products made with High Fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, mannitol, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol, Splenda, Equal and simple carbohydrate foods (like white bread and pasta) that can spike insulin levels. Try to keep sugar levels below 24 grams a day (that’s equivalent to 6 teaspoons), including fruit. Add in a glass of water with a lemon or lime instead of that sugar-laden soda.
2. Eat more veggies! Specifically, dark leafy greens like kale, collards, broccoli, and spinach. Aim for at least 1 serving at each meal. Vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which protect the body from stress, disease and cancer.
3. Eat more berries, onions, mushrooms and seeds. Berries have loads of antioxidants and prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer. Eating more beans increases your fiber intake, which can lower colon cancer risk. More fiber may also lower breast cancer risk. Eating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks has been shown to result in lower digestive cancers. Mushrooms contain substances that have anti-cancer properties and compounds that block estrogen production. Some seeds — sesame, chia and flax in particular — are rich in lignans, plant estrogens that protect against breast cancer; in one fascinating study, women were given flaxseeds daily after being diagnosed with breast cancer and reduced growth and increased death of their tumor cells was found after just 4-5 weeks.
4. Don’t smoke! Smoking and alcohol use increase your risk for certain cancers, that includes second-hand smoke. Take steps to quit smoking and avoid exposure to those who do to protect yourself. Limit your alcohol intake, as just one drink per day increases your cancer risk by 7-10%!
5. Ease up on conventional red meat. Consuming more animal protein, especially dairy products, raises blood levels of IGF-1 – a hormone that promotes cell division and growth. Elevated levels of IGF-1 have been associated with an increased risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer in many studies. Stick to grass-fed, pastured meats and organic dairy if your budget allows (bonus if you can buy raw, organic dairy).
6. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins. Look beyond air pollution and start reading the labels of products you put on your body. Many personal care products contain harmful parabens, neurotoxins and chemicals that cause cancer. Inspect your kitchen for BPA-containing plastics and stop using non-stick coated cookware (which contains PFOA – an industrial chemical that can be released as an odorless gas when heated to high temps. Stop using chemicals to treat your lawn and pesticides to kill bugs and find more natural ways to address these issues. Household cleaners are also full of cancer-causing chemicals. Use baking soda, vinegar or plant-based enzyme cleaners to clean your house instead of the chemical-laden options.
7. Go Organic whenever possible. Buy organic versions of produce listed on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Source local farms for hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat. Visit www.localharvest.org for farmer’s markets and www.eatwild.com to find a grass-fed farm near you. Conventional beef contains industrial carcinogens, such as dioxins, which accumulate in fatty tissues of beef and chicken. When you eat these products, you absorb these nasty toxins.
8. Reduce exposure to excess estrogen. Research heavily before opting for hormone replacement therapy, reduce your consumption of soy products and consider breast-feeding for two years if possible (which lowers estrogen levels).
9. Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess body-weight means more estrogen, which means a higher increase in breast cancer risk. Try to get at least 20 min of exercise every day, whether it be a brisk walk, yoga session or weight-training. Find something you enjoy and do it often.
10. Add superfoods and superherbs to your daily regimen. Along with Vitamin D3 and Omega 3 fatty acids, superfoods such as spirulina, goji berries, aloe vera, hemp seed, raw cacao, bee products, maca and medicinal herbs can promote exceptional health because of their nutrient-dense qualities and healing potential.
Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in weight loss, clean eating transformations and thyroid disease. She works with clients to help them reach their ideal weight, increase their energy, and live a healthy balanced lifestyle, while juggling their career and personal life.
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