Cancer accounts for nearly a fifth of all deaths in Qatar, according to the World Health Organization’s latest Report on Non-Communicable Diseases. On a global scale, cancer is one of the leading causes of death and the number of new cases is expected to rise by a dramatic 70 percent by 2035. With these alarming statistics, it seems imperative that we find ways to protect ourselves from this disease. The good news is that there are multitudes of scientific studies that have explored strategies to help us do just that. Read on to discover how simple lifestyle changes c
an keep cancer at bay.
1. Colorful Crudités
Nature’s pantry brings you a medicine cabinet packed with cancer fighting nutrients — and it’s helpfully color coordinated! Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables have proven beneficial effects on the body, helping to neutralize the free radicals that are in part responsible for promoting the formation of cancer cells. Studies have demonstrated that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer. Here are just some of nature’s most potent anti-cancer compounds, and where you can find them:
Anthocyanins, found in dark purple foods such as acai berries, plums, blackcurrants, blackberries, eggplant, red cabbage, black beans.
Lycopene, found mainly in tomatoes but also in watermelon, grapefruits, guavas, papayas, red peppers.
Ellagic acid, found in pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries.
Carotenoids, found in carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkins.
Sulfarophane, found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be boring, on the contrary! Eat them raw with healthy dips, add some lightly steamed colorful vegetables to your dinner plate, or combine fruits to create adventurous and tasty smoothies.
2. Sensational Seasonings
They’re the sprinkle without which your dishes would be bland and ordinary, but these powerful ingredients offer more than just a delicious burst of flavor. Indeed, many herbs and spices contain nutrients that have proven anti-cancer properties. Garlic, for example, contains the anti-tumor compound allicin — indeed, the WHO recommends eating a fresh clove a day for health benefits. Capsaicin, the nutrient which gives chilies their burning taste, inhibits the growth of mutant cancer cells. Carsonol, found in oregano, sage, rosemary and parsley, and curcumin, found in turmeric, also have anti-cancer properties. Add a generous helping to your dishes!
3. Take a Walk
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours pounding on a treadmill or submitting to grueling gym sessions — it really doesn’t have to be a chore you endure. In fact, simply deciding to move more, be it by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for a walk at lunchtime, can be enough to improve your health. Although these may sound like negligible changes, they could make a big difference when it comes to your cancer risk. Indeed, scientific studies have demonstrated that physical activity reduces the risk of both breast and colon cancer. In addition, people who exercise regularly have a 20 percent lower chance of getting lung cancer. So, how about going for a walk?
4. Breathe and Relax
Although the scientific community is divided on the subject, certain studies demonstrate a link between chronic stress and cancer. When under considerable amounts of stress, the body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine, which in turn increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and speed up heart rate. High levels of stress are also associated with a weakened immune system, and this can lead to the body not being able to effectively fight cancer cells. We live in a world where stress is an everyday occurrence, but simple strategies, such as meditation, yoga or breathing techniques, are very effective at helping to manage stress. Take a moment each day to really relax and unwind — it’s beneficial for both your mind and your body!
5. Black Gold
If your love of coffee has often led you to become irritated by reports that it is unhealthy, we have some good news! A multitude of scientific studies has found that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of liver, kidney, colon, breast and uterus cancers. That’s not to say you can drink as much of it as you like, or whatever way you like — heavy consumption has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, and the inclusion of sugar, flavorings and milk made popular by well known coffee chains can, if drunk too often, increase your risk of obesity and diabetes. However, a small amount of this energy-boosting drink can have a beneficial effect on your overall health.
Small Changes, Big Difference
These small, easy to make changes can lead to a big improvement in your wellbeing — they will boost your health and protect you from cancer. So, make yourself a smoothie, add a liberal sprinkle of spices to your meals, go for a walk, meditate while you wait in a queue, enjoy that cup of coffee — each small step you make takes you closer to a healthier, happier you.References