10 Things You Can Do Now To Reduce Your Cancer Risk
October means fall and usually cool weather and shades of orange, brown and gold leaves litter the ground. But, look around and you'll see magazines, retail stores, sports teams, and Facebook pages are laden with pink ribbons as this month is known as Breast Cancer Awareness month. We are all pretty darn aware of this nasty, prevalent disease. 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!
I think a few of the charities may be worthy causes, but I would prefer to see more money being spent on prevention and not poisonous "cures."
I wanted to share some tips that can help reduce your exposure to toxins that may be contributing to your exposure. If we can mitigate our risk, we can turn off the genes you may be carrying that can "express" themselves as cancerous. Of course, there are no guarantees, but I'm going to do everything in my power to decrease my risk. With a family history of cancer stacked against me, you can bet I'm going to be as proactive as possible to fight this disease.
As you'll surely be asked to donate this month to "race for a cure" or slap on a pink ribbon, there are better, more powerful things we can do for our health. We need to ask our government for stricter regulations on our food, our personal care products, cleaning products, access to cleaner water, and decrease the amount of chemicals in our environment. If we can work more to reduce the CAUSE, we can work to reduce the number of deaths.
10 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Cancer Risk:
- Reduce your sugar intake. Cancer feeds on sugar and it promotes cancer cell growth. Look at food ingredient labels and reduce consuming products made with High Fructose Corn Syrup, sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, malitol, 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 25 grams a day, which includes fruit. Add in a glass of water with a lemon or lime instead of that sugar-laden soda.
- Eat more Veggies! Specifically, dark leafy greens like kale, collards, broccoli, and spinach. Aim for a serving at each meal. (Read my post on incorporating more veggies here.)
- Eat more berries, onions, mushrooms, seeds. Berries have loads of antioxidants and prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer. Eating more beans increases your fiber intake, which can lowers colon cancer risk and more fiber lowers breast cancer risks. Eating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks 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.
- Smoking and alcohol use increase your risk for certain cancers, including second-hand smoke. Take steps to quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake. One drink per day increases your cancer risk by 7-10%!
- Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Consuming more animal protein and especially dairy products raises blood levels of IGF-1, and elevated IGF-1 levels have been associated with increased in breast cancer risk in many studies. Choose grass-fed, pastured meats if you're going to eat meat.
- 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). 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.
- Choose Organic when 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.
- Reduce exposure to excess estrogen. Don't take hormone replacement therapy, reduce your consumption of soy products, and consider breastfeeding for two years (which lowers estrogen levels).
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Higher weight levels means more estrogen, which means a higher increase in breast cancer risk. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
- Consider adding in superfoods and superherbs to your daily regimen. Along with Vitamin D and Omega 3's, superfoods such as spirulina, gogi berries, aloe vera, hemp seed, raw cacao, bee products, maca and medicinal herbs can promote nutritional health.
When all else fails and you don't know what to eat or how to incorporate spirulina into your diet, give me a call and let's set up a time to have a Health Strategy Session! I'd love to support you in reaching your health goals!