We all know someone who has been touched by cancer.
If you’re concerned about cancer prevention you can take comfort in the fact that making healthy lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic and The Canadian Cancer Society on reducing your risks of cancer.
1. Daily exercise.
In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity lowers the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
Strive to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine–and if you can do more, even better.
2. Don’t smoke.
Using any type of tobacco puts you at immediate risk of developing cancer.
Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney and chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the mouth, tongue and pancreas.
Even exposure to second-hand smoke may increase your risk of lung cancer
3. Alcohol consumption.
Research shows that drinking any type of alcohol—beer, wine or spirits —raises your risk of cancer.
The less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk.
4. UV and sun exposure.
The risk of skin cancer today is greater than it was 20 years ago and continues to increase.
Reduce your risk of skin cancer by avoiding tanning beds, using your ‘sun sense’ (sunscreen and sunglasses, seeking shade, avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day) and talking to your doctor about any changes to your skin.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Can you really live longer by eating a healthy diet?
According to research, the answer is yes. Studies have found that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily will extend your life by several years.
Along with a longer life, eating more fruits and vegetables help you to arrive at and maintain a healthy weight.
Scientists found that eating broccoli or cabbage just three times a month could reduce an individual’s risk of bladder cancer by as much as 40 per cent.
Another study in Cancer Research, found that women who increased their cruciferous vegetable intake within the first three years after a breast cancer diagnosis lowered their risk for mortality by up to 62 percent and their risk for recurrence by up to 35 percent.
Cruciferous vegetables—named for the shape of their flowers, whose petals resemble a cross—include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale and brussels sprouts, among others.
These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which are thought to help protect against colon cancer.
They also contain compounds that may help reduce inflammation and ward off DNA damage, both risk factors for disease
As well, consider limiting your fat intake by choosing leaner and lower fat foods—red meat and processed meat increase your risk of cancer.
High fat diets increase risk of being overweight or obese which can increase risk of breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver cancers.
Consider these other cancer fighting superfoods:
High in healthy unsaturated fat, protein, and fibre, studies have shown that almonds are associated with lower body weights and Body Mass Index as well as reduced blood glucose levels for those with type 2 diabetes.
These heart-friendly nuts are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, and iron.
A medium sweet potato (with the skin) clocks in at about 100 calories, and it’s full of fibre, beta-carotene (vitamin A), potassium, and vitamin B6. Purple sweets supply a healthy dose of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre, and are lower in sugar than some other fruits.
Enjoy a cup of nature’s candy for just 84 calories, four grams fibre, almost no fat and even one gram protein to help improve memory and fight off cancer.
Watermelon contains 80 per cent of your daily vitamin C needs, and 30 per cent of your vitamin A or beta carotene.
Watermelon also contains lycopene, the famous cancer-fighting substance found in tomatoes.
Omega 3 fatty acids can lower cholesterol, protect against UV damage, prevent age-related eye disease, and reduce cognitive decline.
This heart-healthy, decadent fruit has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals.
For more info on screening, support and information check out www.canadiancancersociety.ca.