Addressing your diet should be at the top of your list, and rather than adding certain foods, you'll want to eliminate the most dangerous culprits first.
- Animal fats from CAFO-raised animals
- Trans fats
- Partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats
Healthy fats of particular importance for cancer prevention are omega-3 and omega-9. Omega-3 in particular serve to effectively slow down tumor growth in estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast-, prostate- and colon cancers.
4. Xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen). This can become a rather long list once you start including any food contaminated with such estrogen-mimicking chemicals, such as BPA, found in the linings of canned goods and in plastics. The list gets truly unwieldy when you include personal care products that contain such chemicals as well…
Eating for Cancer Prevention
Research clearly shows that the one food that is the most important for optimal health is plant foods.
"Plants are packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial for our health. They also have hundreds of phytochemicals in them. These don't have any nutritional or caloric value, but they are like natural medicines, and some of them behave exactly like chemotherapy," she says.
"Every plant has some anti-cancer properties to them. There are some that are standouts. Cruciferous vegetables are something that I really recommend. They're a family of vegetables that include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts…
All of them have several different chemicals in common. They've got indole-3-carbinol, Calcium D-glucarate, and sulforaphane. They have big anti-cancer properties to them, and they inhibit the growth of breast, prostate, colon cancer and a variety of other ones. Of all the families of vegetables to consume, [cruciferous vegetables] are the ones to be aware of, so you can make sure you're including that in your diet frequently."
Other Lifestyle Factors that Influence Your Cancer Risk
Other lifestyle factors that have been found to have an impact on chronic disease and cancer include:
- Vitamin D—There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. As mentioned earlier, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 80-90 ng/ml—would be beneficial. The health benefits of optimizing your levels, either by safe sun exposure (ideally), a safe tanning bed, or oral supplementation as a last resort, simply cannot be overstated. In terms of protecting against cancer, vitamin D has been found to offer protection in a number of ways, including:
- Regulating genetic expression
- Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
- Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
- Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
- Getting proper sleep: both in terms of getting enough sleep, and sleeping between certain hours. According to Ayurvedic medicine, the ideal hours for sleep are between 10 pm and 6 am. Modern research has confirmed the value of this recommendation as certain hormonal fluctuations occur throughout the day and night, and if you engage in the appropriate activities during those times, you're 'riding the wave' so to speak, and are able to get the optimal levels. Working against your biology by staying awake when you should ideally be sleeping or vice versa, interferes with these hormonal fluctuations."If we, for instance, go to bed by 10, we have higher levels of our sleep hormone melatonin; there's a spike that occurs between midnight and 1am, which you don't want to miss because the consequences are absolutely spectacular. Melatonin is not only our sleep hormone, but it also is a very powerful antioxidant. It decreases the amount of estrogen our body produces. It also boosts your immune system… And it interacts with the other hormones.
So, if you go to bed after 10… it significantly increases your risk of breast cancer."
- Effectively addressing your stress: The research shows that if you experience a traumatic or highly stressful event, such as a death in the family, your risk of breast cancer is 12 times higher in the ensuing five years.
- Exercise—If you are like most people, when you think of reducing your risk of cancer, exercise doesn't immediately come to mind. However, there is some fairly compelling evidence that exercise can slash your risk of cancer.
One of the primary ways exercise lowers your risk for cancer is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Your immune system is your first line of defense against everything from minor illnesses like a cold right up to devastating, life-threatening diseases like cancer.
The trick about exercise, though, is understanding how to use it as a precise tool. This ensures you are getting enough to achieve the benefit, not too much to cause injury, and the right variety to balance your entire physical structure and maintain strength and flexibility, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. This is why it is helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit. For detailed instructions, please see this previous article.
Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.