Prevent Cancer: Five Tips to Prevent You From Becoming a Cancer Statistic
The infographic below shows that cancer is truly a disease of the developed world, something that every individual must take into account as they plan out their daily lifestyle. Environmental, nutritional and lifestyle factors come together to create the perfect storm for the growth of cancer. It is probably best not to believe the hype of oncology centers that claim that they are getting “closer” to making cancer a disease of the past. Cancer is very much a disease of the present, whose incidence continues to grow except in areas where early detection and social lifestyle changes among the masses (specifically, lung cancer in relation to smoking) have made some difference. It simply make sense to take all the steps necessary to minimize risk.
For those of you who are unaware of what you can do, here are five tips to get started in your prevention strategy (these tips may also help you prevent other chronic diseases):
1. Organic Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are crucial to the body’s nutritional status and also contain substances that naturally resist the onset and growth of cancer. Why organic? Well, if you go with 100% organic fruits and veggies, you will be able to miss most of the GMO (genetically modified organisms) produce. Find a local store that promotes organic foods but at the same time is reasonably priced. I personally love shopping at my neighborhood Sprouts.
If it all seems a bit more expensive, you are not alone in feeling that way. I found that it was worth the investment. Very often, a lot of us can compensate for the additional costs by reducing the portions we eat, especially those processed foods and ubiquitous carbs. Now, I am not advocating that you should starve yourself. But consider this:
From 1960 to 2o03, obesity has increased from 47 to 74 percent of the US adult population which correlates very well to increased portion sizes. So it is highly likely that, statistically, you are eating more than you should. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research study covering the habits of 60,000 Americans between 1977 and 1996 showed that portion sizes have increased both in homes and restaurants. For example, hamburgers are larger by 23%, soft drinks have increased in size by 52%, snack pouches (chips etc) are 60% larger, a Mexican food plate is 27% bigger. Let us skip the statistics on ice cream.
A paper was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University where a diverse population of volunteers was given macaroni and cheese for lunch each day, with one difference: different portion sizes each day. Interestingly, the response was the same. Regardless of whether the volunteer was into diets or not, was overweight or not, they all had the tendency to eat 30% more from a portion that was twice the size of the smaller portion. Quite clearly, the progressively larger portions over the years have mesmerized into thinking our body needs as much as we eat – mmm … not quite!
2. Proper Exercise. Yes indeed, exercise helps in more ways than we wish to explain right here. Besides keeping the weight down, control chronic disease parameters, increases energy, uplifts mood, improves sleep, increases the amount of fun you have (it may not be fun to get started, but just try it for a while!) and last, but not the least, improves sexual health. About 27% of the United States walks/exercises as much as is recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Side note : Isn’t it interesting that the percentage of people who do not exercise (73%) and the overweight adult population (74%) are almost the same?
3. Eliminate High Fat Animal Proteins, Especially Charred Meat: High fat animal proteins correlate with the incidence of many cancers. In particular, charring meat at high temperatures converts chemicals in the meat into potent carcinogens. For example, regular consumption of grilled meat, in particular red meat, has been shown to increase prostate cancer incidence by 40%.
4. Eliminate Smoking and Drinking: We all know about the link between smoking and cancer. But that is not just the only link. Other cancers suchas cancer of the bladder, cervix and kidney are found to correlate with smoking habits. Getting rid of smoking is one of the best decisions anyone can make.
Drinking is a slightly different story. Many reports indicate at some health giving benefits to alcoholic beverages such as red wine. However, in general, drinking (both quantity and how long) increase the incidence of cancers such as breast, lung, colon, kidney and liver cancer – and possibly others. Even if you feel you cannot eliminate drinking, reducing to moderate levels can only help.
5. Get Regular Medical Checkups: Getting regular medical checkups will help doctors identify any abnormalities early. There are no guarantees that anyone can avoid cancer, but early detection significantly improves chances of beating the disease. Sometimes the fear of a possible tryst with an unwanted destiny prevents people from getting themselves evaluated. However, ignoring the truth is not a solution either.