You already know that avoiding cigarettes is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from cancer. Likewise, adding nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits to your family’s daily menus increases your intake of the beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds they contain. Here are 7 other easy-to-implement cancer prevention tips that you and your family can start including in your life right away.
1) Care for your mouth
Did you know that gum disease is linked to several other serious health conditions?
“For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other disease in the body; however, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association,” according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
Studies have found that men with gum disease are 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer, and 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Brush, floss, and see your family dentist for annual professional cleanings to keep everyone’s mouth in top shape.
2) Grate some ginger
Ginger has been revered for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and researchers in the U.S. have discovered that it contains a compound called 6-shogaol that kills up to 75 percent of breast cancer stems cells upon contact. This compound was even more effective than the popular chemo drug Taxol. Ginger is also extremely toxic to liver cancer cells, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer, according to recent studies. Grate fresh ginger into your stir fries and salads, or just steep it in boiled water for a few minutes or add it to your hot tea.
3) Get enough sleep
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America cites recent studies that find an association between insufficient sleep and some of the most common cancers in the U.S.: breast, prostate, and colorectal. CTCA also reports that people with sleep apnea are at increased risk of developing any type of cancer.
Researchers believe it is the increased inflammation and disruption in normal immune function experienced by chronically sleep-deprived people that may lead to cancer development. The CTCA also suggests that a reduction in the hormone melatonin, which is produced in the brain during sleep, deprives the body of important antioxidants that help to prevent cellular damage.
4) Eat your nuts
A 2014 study found that an extract in walnuts is extremely toxic to the mitochondria in cancer cells. A European study discovered that people who ate three weekly servings (or just three ounces) of walnuts reduced their risk of dying from all forms of cancer by 54 percent. Pecans increase the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body, so choose walnuts and pecans several times a week as a healthy snack for your family.
5) Take a walk
A recent study followed the exercise habits of 79,124 women for 11 years and discovered that women who walked at a moderate pace for two and a half hours weekly or ran at a fast pace for an hour and 15 minutes weekly were 42 percent less likely to die of breast cancer than those who exercised less. Just two hours a week of brisk walking can nearly cut your risk for breast cancer in half! If you need help getting started, consult with a sports fitness provider who can personalize a walking program to make sure you are meeting your health goals.
6) Take your calcium and vitamin D
These two substances may help prevent colon cancer, according to WebMD. Find high calcium levels in dark, leafy greens, dairy products, and sardines. Egg yolks and salmon are great sources of vitamin D, and just twenty minutes daily of natural sunlight is one of your best sources of this protective vitamin.
7) Sprinkle some flax
A 2000 study showed that eating 25 grams of flaxseed a day for 38 days reduces breast cancer tumor growth as effectively as the drug tamoxifen, according to WebMD. Sprinkle ground flaxseed over your family’s cereal every morning.
If you’d like more lifestyle tips for protecting your family from cancer, Revere Health’s Family Medicine providers are available at 14 locations in Utah. We look forward to building a long-term and caring relationship with your whole family.