According to the NCBI, 90-95% of cancers are preventable and are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. Many studies report that approximately 41% of Americans will develop cancer of some form during their lifetime and about half of those will succumb to the disease. So how do we combat those negative factors that contribute to cancer?
Almost 30-35% of cancer deaths are due to diet choices. Studies have shown that our Western diet, of fast food, high fat, high calories is directly related to a variety of cancers. Immigration patterns have proved how important our diet really is. Studies show that Asian people have a 25 times lower risk of developing prostate cancer, while living in their environment, eating their culturally normal diets. When they migrate to the West and begin consuming the traditional diet, the rates for these cancers increase.
Currently healthcare professionals recommend a diet of 80% fruits and vegetables, 20% animal protein. So instead of ordering that big hamburger with a tiny bit of lettuce and a tasteless tomato, order a grilled chicken salad with lots of veggies! Eat a variety of veggies, pick up a vegetarian cookbook, and learn new ways to serve those healthy greens! Remember to choose cruciferous vegetables, which are known for their anti-cancer properties. Those include broccoli, arugula, Bok choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi.
For those of us who love fruits more than veggies, choose many of the antioxidant rich fruits including blueberries, blackberries, prunes, raisins, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, plums, red grapes, and cherries. Also, nuts, whole grain foods all are beneficial in our diet for anticancer properties.
STOP! Stats show that 25-30% of cancer deaths are related to tobacco products.
A sedentary lifestyle is another cancer risk. Walking briskly 30 minutes a day makes a big difference. It’s not necessary to join an expensive gym or invest in equipment at home. Just get out and take a walk. The more you can engage in this activity the better, but doing it at least 3 times a day helps your body to get rid of toxins, and to reprogram itself to have healthier metabolism and immune systems. Walking also helps us reduce stress, which is yet another factor for cancer and other diseases.
4. Other Factors:
Moderate consumption of alcohol is fine and in the case of red wine can even be healthy. However, too much alcohol consistently puts you at risk for developing esophageal and other types of cancer. So have fun, but don’t go overboard. Stress has become a normal occurrence in our hectic lifestyles, but we should strive to handle that stress by learning breathing techniques or trying meditation. Staying away from environmental risks helps reduce our risks as well. One suggestion is to use natural pesticides in your garden or lawn.
Cancer can be a frightening disease, but, as studies have shown, much of it is preventable. Many diseases also have some of these same risk factors, so developing a healthy lifestyle is beneficial overall!