According to the World Health Organisation, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and it affects everyone. While advances in medicine over the past few decades have reduced death rates from cancer, we still seem to know very little about the medical benefits of most types of food and the importance of regular exercise.
Even more worryingly, the results of the most recent YouGov survey commissioned by the World Cancer Research Fund, show that almost one third (1/3) of respondents believe that getting cancer is largely based on fate and 4 in 10 Britons think that, aside from not smoking, there is little that can be done to prevent cancer.
Despite what we may all think, there is more than one way to cut your chances of being a statistic…Here’s 10 of them.
1. Eat loads of broccoli and cauliflower (and other Cruciferous vegetables). Broccoli and cauliflower are two of the most well-known cancer-preventing superfoods that both belong to the species Brassica oleracea. But take note: do not to microwave or boil them for more than 5 minutes, as those preparation methods are thought to reduce the levels of the cancer-fighting phytochemicals contained in these superfoods by up to 97%!
2. Eat grapes. They’re a great source of resveratrol, the cancer-protecting compound found in wine, but minus the alcohol.
3. Take a 30-minute walk every day. That’s all it takes to cut your breast cancer risk, according to a study of 170 overweight, inactive women in Seattle. Moderate exercise reduces oestrogen, a hormone that’s been implicated in the disease. It also lowers the risk of dying from colon or bowel cancer according to a study of more than 150,000 men and women. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK.
4. Sprinkle spring onions onto your salad. Delicious! And it just so happens that a diet high in onions may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 50%. The effects are strongest when they’re eaten raw or lightly cooked.
5. Eat a cantaloupe melon. Especially if you are a smoker, as Cantaloupe is a delicious source of carotenoids, plant chemicals shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
6. Sleep more. Studies have found that during our sleep, our immune system produces some of our body’s most effective cancer-combating weapons, allowing it to repair any damages done to cells and organs.
7. Love your raw garlic. Apparently garlic keeps more than vampires away… It contains allicin, which is garlic’s defense mechanism against attacks by pests and gives the herb its distinctively pungent smell. Allicin not only exhibits powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, offering protection against damaging free radicals that may cause cancer, but it has also been shown to kill tumor cells in certain studies.
8. Choose not to smoke. Be strong and make this choice. It is not merely as hard as most people think to knock off this habit (read more about how easy it is to quit smoking here). It’s only a choice and an easy one to make given the unarguable scientific evidence of the negative health effects of tobacco use.
9. Measure your waist. Besides smoking, scientists now believe that maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing we can do to prevent cancer. Research has shown that fat cells release oestrogens, a hormone linked to breast cancer. Moreover, other studies have shown that fat stored around the waist releases high levels of growth hormones that cause the body cells to grow and divide more quickly, leading to a greater risk of cancer. So calculate your BMI index (BMI calculator) keeping in mind that a healthy weight on the BMI scale ranges from 18.5 to 25. But also remember to measure your waist, ideal waist size for men is less than 94cm or 37 inches and for women anything less than 81cm or 32 inches.
10. Healthy mind in healthy body. This popular ancient Greek saying of the pre-Socratic philosopher and mathematician Thales of Miletus, is more relevant than ever in today’s inactive and stressful way of living. Make the time and the effort to treat both your mind and body with respect every day. Remember to keep calm and smile on!