“You have cancer.”
These may be three of the most devastating words that a person can hear in their lifetime.
And while there is a lot of talk about how to treat cancer, what are you meant to do to prevent cancer? Or what are you meant to do post recovery in order to keep cancer from returning?
In a study of postmenopausal women who had been diagnosed with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, people with a healthy diet had a 45% lower risk of mortality from breast cancer or any other disease.
This kind of information demonstrates the promising role of nutrition in reducing cancer risk. Read on to discover other key insights into staying healthy to prevent cancer, and how to look after yourself once you've faced cancer too.
1. Find Your Healthy, Comfortable Weight
Did you know that fat is a metabolically active tissue?
Tweet - The fat in our body is not inert. In fact, it has its very own blood supply and cellular activityFat cells are constantly active and can generate hormones, produce inflammatory factors and even play a role in regulating our appetite!
The metabolic activity of our fat cells accounts for why body weight can influence our cancer risk. Intra-abdominal fat (the stuff in our mid-section that surrounds and even permeates our organs) has a particularly important role in our health. This type of fat releases inflammatory chemicals and growth factors that can cause chronic disease (such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions) and accelerate the growth of cancer cells.
Please note: The recommendation to find a healthy weight is generally advised as prevention or after your cancer has cleared. Weight loss is not recommended during many cancers, when your body needs optimal nutrition and fuel to heal.
2. Eat Organic … At Least, As Much As You Can!
Many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides have carcinogenic qualities. Therefore, to reduce your risk of future cancer, it makes good sense to minimize your exposure to chemicals that are cancer-promoting.
Furthermore, research indicates that organic produce has a higher nutrient content. Our bodies need to be well-nourished and receive a plentiful supply of antioxidants to combat cancer cells and support the immune system. So eating organic has the twofold benefit of giving your body less of the harmful stuff and more cancer-fighting, health-enhancing goodness!
Although eating organic does carry a perception of being more expensive, you can read our cost-saving tips for shopping organically here and here. As a starting point, you may also like to initially avoid eating the top ‘dirty dozen’ most heavily sprayed produce items.
3. Eat Plenty Of Alkalizing, Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation is bad news for our health and contributes to many diseases, including cancer. By reducing inflammation, we can keep our body working in top condition and lower our risk of developing cancer.
As a general rule of thumb, most plant-based foods have a more alkalizing effect within the body. On the other hand, many dairy products, meat, sugar and refined foods tend to be more acidifying.
Research has found that a more alkaline, plant-based diet and lower intake of meat products can significantly lower the risk of many cancers. Read these easy 5 steps to a more alkaline diet and learn more about how acid-alkaline balance works within your body here.
4. Drink Juice
Freshly squeezed, vegetable-based juices are one of the fastest ways to flood your cells with the nutrients needed for your body to function optimally. Additionally, juices are alkalizing, which as discussed, can also assist in reducing cancer risk.
Plant foods also contain antioxidants and Vitamins A, C and E, which fight free-radical damage. Many phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables can also help cells to prevent cancer development. Boost your daily intake of these nourishing, cancer-fighting goodies with a cold-pressed, vegetable-based juice!
For extra benefit, consider including anti-inflammatory ingredients such as ginger and turmeric into your daily juices. Numerous studies have shown that turmeric, in particular, may have anticancer properties. Weird tip? Add a little pepper into any juice containing turmeric; a bioactive component in pepper called piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin.
5. Reduce The ‘Rubbish’ In Your Food
Did you know that many preservatives, colors and flavors in common foods are believed to be carcinogenic? (Check out some of the worst offenders here!)
While these artificial additives have been given “safety levels” that the average American diet shouldn’t exceed, the scary thing is that little is known about how these chemicals interact with each other, or what the accumulative side-effects may be.
Furthermore, foods containing artificial additives tend to have a lower nutritional value than fresh, organic, whole foods. Therefore, by sticking to natural foods, you can give your body a boost of superior nutrients and avoid potentially carcinogenic ingredients.
6. Move Your Body Regularly
Research suggests that regular exercise may reduce the risk of developing cancer or experiencing a recurrence. Exercise can also be vital in relieving fatigue and reducing the stress that is common after cancer.
Many experts recommend exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, at the highest intensity that you can safely do. This can be distributed over the day, so no need to sweat it out all in one go if this amount sounds daunting!