Monday, 12 February 2007

15 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, 10 million cases of cancer are diagnosed worldwide. This number is expected to rise to 15 million by 2010 if we don't make lifestyle and dietary changes.

Most cases of cancer don't develop overnight but are the culmination of processes that occur over many years. I read an interesting article in the Reader's Digest that lists 31 ways to reduce one's risk of the big C. Some of the tips are:

1. Steam broccoli rather than microwaving it. Broccoli has cancer-preventing nutrients, but microwaving the vegetable destroys 97% of these.

2. Eat some Brazil nuts. They contain selenium, an important trace mineral that helps fight cancer.

3. Take a calcium supplement with vitamin D. A study suggests that the supplements reduce colon polyps, a risk factor in colon cancer in people susceptible to the growths.

4. Add garlic to everything you eat. Studies suggest that garlic can reduce the incidence of stomach cancer by as much as a factor of 12.

5. Eat several pieces of cantaloupe every morning. This is a good source of carotenoids, plant nutrients shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

6. Mix half a cup of blueberries into your morning cereal. Blueberries have antioxidant power. Antioxidants destroy free radicals which can damage cells and lead to diseases including cancer.

7. Coat barbecue food with a thick sauce. Grilling meat can create cancer-causing chemicals, but researchers found that coating meat with a protective marinade to prevent direct contact with the flames can help reduce the amount of such chemicals produced. Another way to do this is to precook meat before grilling it.

8. Drink a glass of water every time you go to the bathroom. A major study found that men who drank six eight-ounce glasses of water every day reduced their risk of bladder cancer in half. Another study found that women who drank more water reduced their risk of colon cancer by up to 45%.

9. Take a multivitamin every day. Studies have found that getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals can help improve the body's immune function and prevent cancer.

10. Eat kiwifruit regularly. Kiwi contains cancer-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C, lycopene and copper. You can also rub cut kiwi on low-fat meat as a tenderizer.

11. Eat more oranges. A study found that a daily dose of citrus fruits may cut the risk of mouth, throat and stomach cancers by half.

12. Buy organic foods. They're grown without pesticide or hormones, both of which can cause cellular damage that may lead to cancer.

13. Buy clothes that don't need to be dry cleaned. Many dry cleaners still use a chemical called percheloroethylene found to cause kidney and liver damage and cancer in animals that have been exposed to it repeatedly. If you must dry-clean your clothes, air them outside or in another room before wearing.

14. Avoid smoked and pickled foods as studies have found that they contain various cancer-causing agents.

15. Play a game or do some other activity that reduces stress. A study found that men with high levels of stress and those with less satisfying contact with family members and friends had higher levels of prostate-specific antigen in their blood, a marker for prostate cancer.

I've only listed 15 out of the 31 suggestions in the Reader's Digest article. To read the rest, go here.

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