First, the good news: You probably won’t get cancer.
That is, if you have a healthy lifestyle. “As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable and related to lifestyle,” says Thomas A. Sellers, PhD, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Diet, exercise, and avoidance of tobacco products are, of course, your first line of defense, but recent research has uncovered many small, surprising ways you can weave even more disease prevention into your everyday life. Try these novel strategies and your risk of cancer could dwindle even more.
1. Eat a whole foods diet.
Choose real, whole, nutrient-dense plant foods and the very best quality animal foods. These are the foods your great-grandmother would have recognized and probably grown. She wouldn’t have recognized modern-day packaged, processed sustenance that passes as food. Make every meal an array of colorful plant foods, lean protein, and healthy fats. Researchers have found a synergistic relationship between obesity-related insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. When you read labels, you’ll find sugar in so many foods. Avoid anything ending in “-ose” (sugar) and limit foods made from flour or processed grains.
2. Support your body’s natural detoxification system.
Effective strategies include high-fiber foods that help your body eliminate waste and sweating regularly via exercise or saunas. Your cells are always detoxifying, and a great way to help that process is by increasing your (preferably organic) cruciferous vegetable intake. You have so many ways to do this: Throw some raw kale into your breakfast smoothie, eat broccoli for lunch, and enjoy cauliflower “rice” for dinner.
3. Minimize environmental toxins.
Many research studies link bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. BPA, which still lingers in some canned and plastic containers, is one of many toxins we’re exposed to regularly that wreak hormonal, metabolic, and overall-health havoc. Others include pesticides, parabens, and heavy metals like mercury and lead. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid all toxins, but you can reduce your exposure. Visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to learn more, and ask your functional medicine doctor to test whether toxins could be suppressing your immune function.[the_ad id=”1217″]
4. Mind your gut.
Gut health plays a major role in overall health, and you can employ several strategies to optimize your gut. Use antibiotics only when necessary. Take a professional-quality probiotic supplement and increase your intake of foods that support good gut flora like sauerkraut and kimchi. Don’t forget prebiotic-rich foods like dandelion and raw Jerusalem artichoke. In addition, aim for 35 grams of fiber daily. Fiber-rich foods include legumes, leafy and cruciferous greens, and nuts and seeds. Besides steadying insulin levels, fiber helps feed good gut flora.
5. Manage stress.
Studies show that chronic stress can affect numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), immune and mental disorders, and cancer. Modern life means you’re under almost-constant stress, but you’ve also got strategies to reduce its impact including meditation and yoga. Find strategies that work for you and do them regularly.
6. Exercise consistently.
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, less than 5 percent of Americans are actually getting 30 minutes of physical activity every day. That’s too bad because just 45 minutes five times a week can improve insulin resistance, help you become leaner, and reduce your cancer risk. Even walking vigorously can help, but if you can go stronger, do it: Researchers found high-intensity interval training (HIIT) “takes less time [and might] be a time-efficient strategy for improving certain aspects of the health of female cancer survivors.”