5 Lifestyle Habits to Help Prevent Cancer –
5 Lifestyle Habits to Help Prevent Cancer
The statistics are daunting: 43% of men and 38% of women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and 23% of men and 19% of women will die from the disease. But there is a glimmer of hope when you consider that 50% of all cancers are preventable, according to the World Health Organization.
Diet as a baseline
Chronic inflammation can lead to an increased cancer risk, so an anti-cancer diet is one that is also anti-inflammatory. Eating a Paleo diet that is rich in omega 3 fats, organ meats and colorful fruits and, especially, vegetables is a great place to start. If you can’t commit fully to a Paleo diet, then try to reduce the amount of grains you eat and be sure any dairy you consume is organic. You can give your diet an extra anti-cancer punch by using spices liberally. A bonus article on three anti-cancer spices is coming soon.
Of course don’t smoke but I am sure you already know that! It is also important to clean up your beauty care routine by eliminating toxins from your make up shampoo and skin care. More info here.
Here are 5 uncommon, yet important ways to help reduce your cancer risk:
1. Don’t rely on sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
A 2014 study published in Nature found that while wearing SPF 50 could help slow down the development of melanoma, it couldn’t prevent the deadly skin cancer from developing in the first place. Exposure to mid-day sun is important for your body to produce vitamin D, which has been heralded as helping to prevent cancer in the first place.
But the moment your skin begins to turn slightly pink, you want to minimize your exposure, as sun damage can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and malignant skin cancers. While wearing a safe chemical-free sunscreen, like this one, can help, the best way to prevent chronic overexposure is by covering up with dark, tightly woven clothing, swim shirt, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
2. Don’t Hesitate to Marinate
When muscle meat from beef, pork, fish and poultry is cooked at high temperatures (such as pan frying or grilling over an open flame), chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form in the meat. Lab animals fed high amounts of these chemicals developed many different types of cancer, and researchers suspect they may cause cancer in humans as well. There are several ways to reduce the amounts of HCAs and PAHs in your food.
You can cut PAH levels in half by marinating meat in beer, specifically dark beer, for four hours prior to throwing it on the grill. If you are gluten free then use gluten free beer. Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar will also work.
Because of the role free radicals play in the formation of PAHs, it’s likely the antioxidants in dark beer that are responsible for the reduced levels. Consider adding rosemary and thyme to your marinade, which Kansas State University researchers found can further reduce HCAs by up to 87%. Also do not cook meat to well done.
Of course, as always, it will help to buy grass fed and organic meat which is free of toxic pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that can influence cancer growth.
3. Skip the Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning solvent commonly contains a chemical called perc (perchloroethylene). Inhaling perc has been linked to liver and kidney damage as well as cancer. Do you hang your dry cleaning in your closet, still in the bag, to keep your clothes nice and “fresh?” If so, you’re also storing all that perc, so when you wear that suit or dress again, you’ll be sure to be breathing in perc all day long. Yikes!
There are three ways to avoid this. First, any item labeled “dry clean only” can also be cleaned by gently dipping it into a bath of cold water. Second, look for a dry cleaner who doesn’t use perc-containing solvent. And third, remove any dry cleaned clothes from their bags and air them out by hanging them either outside or in front of an open window for at least two hours prior to wearing them or storing them in your closet.
4. Beware of Folic Acid
Folate and folic acid are often thought to be the same thing – but they’re not. Folates belong to the B vitamin family and are naturally present in foods, especially leafy green vegetables. Folic acid, however, is a synthetic lab-made compound that is used primarily in supplements and to fortify foods.
The B vitamin is essential for the prevention of birth defects, but taking in too much of the synthetic form – folic acid – has been linked to an increase in colon, lung, prostate, and breast cancers. In fact, folic acid supplements in doses as little as 2.5 times the daily requirement may promote the growth of cancer cells.
How can you be sure that you’re not overdoing it? First, make sure any supplements you take contain folate, not folic acid. And check the labels on any foods you eat that may be fortified with folic acid, especially wheat products and cereals, cornmeal, rice and non-dairy milks (rice, soy, almond, hemp, coconut, etc.).
The adequate daily intake for adults is 400 micrograms (mcg), and 600 for pregnant women. If the amount of the synthetic vitamin you’re taking in far exceeds that, consider ways of to reduce your intake. This form is the kind that is easier absorbed by the body.
5. Keep your phone away from your head
On May 21, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified exposure to cell phone radiation as a class 2B carcinogen – meaning it’s very likely to cause cancer. Other chemicals in this category include the pesticide DDT, lead, gasoline engine exhaust, and burning coal. (The dry cleaning chemicals discussed above also fall into this category).
Did you know that your iPhone manual actually states that your phone should be at least 5/8 of an inch away from your body at all times, including when on a call?
Here are some guidelines to reduce radiation exposure from your cell phone:
- Do NOT carry your phone in your pocket or bra. Keep it at least 5/8 inch from your body.
- When on a call, hold your phone with the dock connector pointed down towards your shoulder to increase the space between the antenna and your head.
- When on a call, hold the phone 5/8 inch away from your head.
I use hands free headphones at all time for my phone like this one:
About the author:
Coco has been my trusty intern over the past two years. She has written some great articles for me. She is about to graduate from Bauman College in Summer 2014. I am so proud of her! Make sure to follow her facebook page here.
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