I am often asked what measures can a person take to minimize the risk of developing cancer or its recurrence. This list is extensive and often seems an overwhelming feat for a person to undertake. There are so many changes to diet and lifestyle that people often get discouraged and make minimal changes. I will tell you, however, if you don’t make these changes now and you are unfortunate enough to develop cancer, you will be making all of these changes and many, many more when you are fighting to eliminate your cancer. Unfortunately, these changes work much more effectively BEFORE you get cancer than they do when you are treating it. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been truer when you are dealing with the big “C”.
To help our readers make these changes and stick with them, I thought I would create a 3-stage process for making the most significant changes to help you reduce your risk of cancer. Some of the changes will be in the form of diet and others lifestyle. Some will be easy changes and others will be more difficult. By taking this in stages, you will be able to incorporate a little at a time, acclimate to those changes, then once they are your new norm, incorporate more.
1. Drink Plenty of Water and, Better Yet, Drink Ionized Alkaline Water
First and foremost is you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day for your overall health. More than fifty percent of our bodies are made of water, and staying properly hydrated is essential to every bodily function. Why Ionized Alkaline Water? Human blood has a pH of approximately 7.4 — slightly alkaline. It’s essential for our bodies to maintain our pH within a tight range. Even a small fluctuation of as little as .05 in our blood pH can have severe health risks. The research of Dr. Otto Warburg and Dr. H. E. Sartori has demonstrated that most cancer cells prefer an acidic (lower) pH level and thrive in these conditions. Also shown is that cancer growth can be reduced and certain cancer cells may be killed with increased pH levels.
Another reason to drink Ionized Alkaline water is due to the antioxidant properties that aid in neutralizing free radicals. According to the National Cancer Institute, one of the underlying causes of cancer is excessive free radical damage in your cells that harms your DNA and results in some cells mutating into cancerous cells.
You can create your own alkaline water with special filters or faucet attachments. You can also use additive drops to alkalinize your water. In most large chain stores, water ionizers can be purchased that convert your tap water to an alkaline pH state. Bottled alkaline water is also available at most grocery stores.
2. Eat Organic
The President’s Cancer Panel recommends buying meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, which are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. The report also advises that you purchase produce grown without pesticides. The foods with the most pesticides: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, and blueberries. If you can not find organic produce, make sure to food thoroughly to remove residues or, better yet, peel the outer skin to minimize exposure.
3. Add These Cancer Fighters to Your Diet
Our brain and nervous system consist of 60% fat which is why they play a vital role in our brain health. Fats also control hormones such as insulin, aid in absorbing nutrients, regulating body temperature and supporting immune function, just to name a few benefits. But did you know they could also help fight cancer? A recent study discovered an active anti-cancer component in coconut oil that constitutes 50 percent of its makeup. It’s called lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that supports the immune system and also has antimicrobial properties. In a study published in the journal Cancer Research, researchers at the University of Adelaide discovered this component completely eradicated more than 90 percent of colon cancer cells after just two days of treatment in a colon cancer cell line (CRC) in vitro. The study also cites other studies that support the position that lauric acid can induce cancer cell death both in vitro and in vivo. Incorporate coconut oil into your diet by using it in place of vegetable oil in your recipes and you will reap the benefits of this super oil!
Next time you’re choosing salad fixings, reach for the darkest varieties. The chlorophyll that gives them their color is loaded with magnesium, which some large studies have found lowers the risk of colon cancer in women. “Magnesium affects signaling in cells, and without the right amount, cells may do things like divide and replicate when they shouldn’t,” says Walker. Just 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, 20% of the daily value.
According to a Harvard Medical School study involving 38,000 women, if you eat a lot of things with a high glycemic load—a measurement of how quickly food raises your blood sugar—you may run a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women who eat low-glycemic-load foods. Foods to avoid include white bread, pasta, potatoes, and sugary pastries. Whole grains such as barley, oats, kamut, spelt, bulgur are low-glycemic-load and can help reduce the risk of cancer.
These nuts are an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women, according to research from Dartmouth Medical School. Other studies have found that people with high blood levels of selenium have lower rates of dying of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Researchers think selenium not only protects cells from free radical damage but also may enhance immune function and suppress formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy, and kale are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. In addition, cruciferous vegetables contain a group of substances known as glucosinolates. During chewing, and digestion, the glucosinolates are broken down to form biologically active compounds such as indoles and isothiocyanates help protect cells from DNA damage, inactivate carcinogens, have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, inhibit tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration.
4. Avoid Charred and Well-Done Meats
Processed, charred, and well-done meats can contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which form when meat is seared at high temperatures, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which get into food when it’s charcoal broiled. If you do grill, add rosemary and thyme to your favorite marinade and soak meat for at least an hour before cooking. The antioxidant-rich spices can cut HCAs by as much as 87%, according to research at Kansas State University.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Scans
CT scans are a great diagnostic tool, but they deliver much more radiation than x-rays. In fact, researchers suggest that one-third of CT scans could be unnecessary. High doses of radiation can trigger leukemia, so make sure scans are not repeated if you see multiple doctors, and ask if another test, such as an ultrasound or MRI, could substitute.
A study released this year from researchers at the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute links exercise with a lower risk of 13 specific types of cancer. These cancers include colon, breast, endometrial, esophageal, liver, stomach, kidney, and myeloid leukemia. The amount of exercise recommended is 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
7. Reduce Risks From Cell Phones
A study conducted by National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal interagency group last year, concluded that whole body exposure to cell phone radiation likely caused heart and brain cancer in rats. This large animal study supports the growing body of science showing an association between cell phone radiation and brain tumors.
Whenever your cell phone is turned on, it is emitting radiofrequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation, from their antennas. Tissues nearest to the antenna can absorb this energy. When your cell phone is low on power or if you are in a bad reception area, the phone’s emissions are significantly higher.
To reduce your risks, get in the habit of using land-line phones whenever that is available. Use your cell phone only for short calls or texts and turn your phone off whenever possible. Don’t sleep with your cell phone near your body and don’t carry it on your body such as in your pocket or bra. Also, use a well-shielded wired hands-free device that keeps the phone away from your head. Most wired headsets are NOT well-shielded and may act as an antenna transmitting these radio waves. Do your homework when purchasing one.
8. Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths. Excess body weight may affect cancer risk through a number of mechanisms, some of which might be specific to certain cancer types. Excess body fat can affect immune system function and inflammation, levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and proteins that influence how the body uses certain hormones, such as sex hormone-binding globulin.
9. Eliminate Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smoking is by far the most preventable cause of cancer. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that smoking and tobacco use is linked to 30% of cancer deaths in the US and the number 1 risk factor for lung cancer. The main way that smoking causes cancer is by damaging our DNA, including key genes that protect us against cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including benzene, polonium-210, benzo(a)pyrene and nitrosamines. Additionally, cigarettes contain arsenic and nickel interfere with pathways for repairing damaged DNA. This makes it even more likely that damaged cells will eventually turn cancerous. Keep in mind there is no such thing as a safe cigarette and the more you smoke, the higher your chances of developing cancer. Don’t be fooled into believing the serious damaging effects of smoking can be cancelled out by leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily. The best way to reduce your risk is to quite completely.
10. Eliminate/Reduce Simple Sugar Consumption
Sugar has been linked to plenty of chronic diseases in recent years, including several types of cancer. There have been several recent studies confirming a link between sugar intake and cancers including breast, pancreatic, and colon. But that is only part of the problem. Unlike other cells in your body that burn carbs or fat for fuel, cancer cells have lost that metabolic flexibility and can only metabolize sugar for energy. Consuming sugar can result in cancer growing and spreading more quickly. Avoiding all sources of sugar will inhibit cancer cells. German cancer researcher Dr. Otto Warburg was actually given a Nobel Prize in 1931 for discovering this fact. Our recommendation is to avoid sugary drinks and choose whole fruit over fruit juice. Limit sweets, such as ice cream, candy, pastries, cookies, etc. Instead have a little dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Stay tuned for more and good luck with Stage 1!