If you think about it, pretty much everyone you know has been touched by cancer in some way. Thankfully, there are some amazing things happening in the medical world when it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Lives are being prolonged and saved like never before. There are so many wonderful doctors, nurses, surgeons, fundraisers, volunteers, etc out there doing everything they can to cure cancer. We have them to be grateful for. But what can we as individuals do to help prevent cancer in the first place?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate some of the things that are within our control that we can do to reduce our risk of developing cancer. Although you may have inherited some biological factors that may increase your risk of certain cancers, you can help keep cancerous cells from developing, growing and multiplying by making certain diet and lifestyle choices. Imagine a sleeping bear. You could quietly walk around it at a safe distance all day without harm or you could poke the bear, agitating it and cause an attack. Now imagine the bear is cancer cells living inside you and a poor diet and lifestyle are your poking stick. Here are 5 ways you can avoid poking the bear!
An apple a day…
The reminder to eat your fruits and vegetables has been heard a zillion times and there is a reason. Almost 5,000 studies show that fresh fruits and veggies help prevent cancer. Among many other benefits, they increase the alkalinity of the body. An alkaline PH level is not conducive to the growth of cancer, where an acid PH is cancer friendly. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables from all colors of the rainbow, especially fruits like berries that are high in antioxidants and green vegetables high in chlorophyll.
Limit refined sugar and simple carbs.
Cancer loves sugar. High blood sugar levels in the body create an environment where cancer cells can thrive. I recently attended a cancer awareness event and the refreshments served where a buffet of sugary pastries. To me, this seemed to send mixed messages! Unfortunately, refined sugars and simple carbohydrates (white sugar, white flour, soda, corn syrup, etc) surround us on a daily basis. It is up to us as individuals to gain control over our blood sugar levels and satisfy our sweet cravings with natural foods such as sweet vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates (vegetables, beans, legumes and grains such as quinoa and brown rice) and replace refined sugar with natural substitutes such as stevia, coconut sugar and molasses.
Reduce animal protein and dairy.
Animal milk contains essential growth factors which is why breast feeding is so important for newborns. Once this phase is over, the growth factors are no longer needed by the body and these excess hormones can disrupt the endocrine system and cause cancer cells to grow. T Colin Campbell completed a study that showed the effects of animal milk protein on animals with liver cancer. The study proved that when animal protein was replaced with plant based protein, the liver cancer stopped growing.
Choose organic and local when possible.
The quality of our food matters. Choosing organic produce, meats and dairy whenever possible will help ensure your food has not been heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides, genetically modified or injected with growth hormones. These toxins can fester and remain in the body and contribute to illness overtime. If organic produce is not available to you locally, try to find responsible low-spray farms where you can find freshly picked fruits and vegetables. The fresher, the more the nutrients remain intact!
Reduce and manage stress.
Stress is a part of life, but chronic stress can be taxing on the adrenal and immune systems. Making relaxation a priority in your life is an important step to reducing and managing stress in healthy ways. Scheduling time for yourself and finding activities such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, reading, journaling, walking or taking baths will help maintain your overall health and wellbeing.
Sending love and strength to all those effected by cancer and the hope that this knowledge can help you feel empowered to take control over your health! Please contact me with any questions or to learn how Kombu Kitchen can help you reach your health goals at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christy LeMire, CHHC
Holistic Nutrition Coach