Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I've never sinned, I've got a friend in food
With all the back and forth of religious/anti-religious letters on TCPalm lately (and though I haven't been able to keep up with them all) one thing I've seen repeated in the comment section from several of the devout Christians' is that they have a duty to inform others. That describes how I feel when it comes to health and so I've come to the conclusion that 'health' is my religion of choice. I'm not exceptionally devout by any means, (I do quite a bit of sinning) but I try to be faithful.
It is said that only 5 to 10% of the most "popular" cancers are related to genetic factors. The rest are attributed to environmental factors. Your first line of defense is one of the things you have a certain amount of control over- what you eat and how you live. Though there are a lot of factors beyond our control, nutrition matters and is the basis of a really good article in the Feb/March 2009 issue of Mother Earth News titled "Healthy Choices to Keep Cancer at Bay". I've read quite a bit about the subject and thought the author, Linda B. White, M.D., summarized it nicely into 14 easy steps anyone can incorporate into their lives to help prevent cancer.
It's a fairly short article and I could just as easily leave you a link and leave it at that. But I know your busy and though I'll include the link below if you want to read it in its entirety, I'll summarize her summary for you.
1. Follow a plant based diet. They're filled with antioxidants; they stimulate the immune system, enhance detoxification and help regulate hormones.
2. Graze on berries. Include cherries and red grapes too as they're nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory (inflammation is blamed for other diseases as well).
3. Eat from the cruciferous vegetable family- broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, brussels sprouts, etc. (Let me add, try to eat at least one serving of those daily.)
4. Eat complex carbs. Refined carbs besides being fiberless, lead to high blood sugar- sugar feeds cancer cells.
5. Add spice to your life. (No, not that kind of spice, though it’s good for you as well). Turmeric and ginger to be specific as both have "potent" anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Go for garlic. It's an antioxidant which boosts immunity, inhibits the growth of cancer cells, and aids enzymes that detoxify carcinogens. Chop, crush, or slice it ten minutes before cooking so you don't destroy the good stuff.
7. Minimize meat. Especially, processed meats and red meat. (Also, grilled meats, well-done meat and fried meat.)
8. Choose your fats wisely. High intake of animal fats and trans fats (hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated oils) increase cancer risk while olive oil, most vegetable oils and cold-water fish oil don't and seem to be protective.
9. Regular exercise. No excuses. Schedule it into your day like it's a job, a very well paying job-- because it is. Overweight women who lose 20 pounds and keep it off cut their risk of breast cancer in half. (I'd wager the same weight loss would cut a man’s prostate cancer risk too.)
10. Avoid tobacco. It's responsible for nearly 30% of all cancers. Enough said.
Okay, now I'm talking blasphemy at the Beach House but here goes:
11. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Heavy drinking increases the risk of cancer.
12. Avoid stress overload. Hard to do if your keeping alcohol to a minimum but exercise should equal it out. There's no smoking gun linking stress to cancer but stress does impair your immune system.
13. Stay social. Especially important if you’re already battling cancer.
14. Get screened. Don't miss having a yearly exam. Early detection increases your chance of beating cancer should you have it.
So there it is. All pretty simple to add to your routine if your not already doing it. And hopefully sharing it with you will put me in the good graces of the health Gods… Or that other "Spirit in the Sky". ;-)
Here's the link to the above mentioned article:
Mother Earth News (my most favorite magazine) is a true bargain at $10 a year if you subscribe online rather than use an insert. Of course reading it online is free. If you have time, check out the Home page. It's loaded with links to interesting articles to help you live more "wisely".