‘Cancer is a hereditary disease’, this is a myth believed by many. But according to research, cancer is more a lifestyle disease than a hereditary disease. It is not just the family gene the decides if you have a risk of cancer and as per studies by the American Cancer Society, only 5-10% of cancer cases develop from a genetic mutation. Going by the numbers, it means that 90-95% of cancer is contributed to other risk factors like an unhealthy diet, unsound lifestyle choice, poor habits like smoking and drinking and lack of exercise. That is the reason doctors recommend preventive health checkup measures and awareness to fight cancer and end the epidemic.
Diet - Eating healthy can prevent cancer
Health experts have said time and again that cancer can be effectively prevented by a healthy diet. A diet that is rich in nutritious and organic food, home-prepared food and eating in moderation is the key to staying healthy and lower the risk of cancer. However, you must also keep in mind that an overdose of any particular nutrient is harmful too. Everyone has a different body type and health issues depending on which their diet regimen should be designed. Visit a nutritionist to review your health and follow a diet accordingly.
According to Carolyn Lammersfeld, eating a plant-based diet comprising of fresh and organic fruits and veggies, nuts, beans, and other whole foods benefit your health than meat. They are also rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect cells from radical damage that prevents cancer risk. She says that lean meat and fish can be eaten in moderate amounts as it gives a good addition of protein to your diet. However, “diets rich in red and processed meats are associated with an increased cancer risk,” Lammersfield says.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean excluding fats and sugar from your diet. Though your diet should have a lot of vitamins and minerals with high fiber content, a small amount of fat, sugar, and salt is also essential for a balanced diet. Limit eating pre-packaged food like chips, ready-to-eat starter foods, frozen chicken nuggets, and vegetable fritters, granola bars, cookies, tetra-pack juices, and canned fish. They have a lot of chemicals and additives to preserve the freshness of the food that increases the risk of cancer. In addition, these foods also are high in calories, hidden sugar and fat, and salt.
When shopping in a supermarket, pick fruits and vegetables from the organic section as they are devoid of pesticides, fertilizers or bioengineered processes and grown in safe soil. These chemical pesticides and harmful ingredients are highly hazardous to human health. Environmental and health scientists have found a strong evidential link between chemical pesticides and cancer. They say that many pesticides are carcinogenic while others are tumor-growth promoters.
The preparing method of food also plays an important role in defining good health. We tend to fry, grill or barbeque meat in order to make it tasty, but charred meat triggers the formation of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines that increase cancer risk. “However, the same carcinogens are not produced with plant-based foods,” says Lammersfeld, “so grilling vegetables and tofu are safe alternatives. If you do choose to grill meat, you can marinade it prior to cooking to reduce the production of those compounds.”
Lifestyle: A little change goes a long way
Our modern day lifestyle is way more chilled out sans a definite routine. We have almost forgotten the “early to bed, early to rise” routine that we used to follow sternly during our school days. For most of us, our day starts with a very light breakfast followed by junk food that we keeping gorging on all through the day. We spend most of the time before our laptop or with a mobile in hand. We hardly care for exercise or staying physically fit. We are always late-sleepers and late-risers, thanks to a lot of interesting content over web channels these days.
But little do we realize that our careless attitude is taking a significant toll on our health weakening our immune system, increasing our weight and heightening our risk of developing cancer and other deadly diseases.
A first small step towards changing our lifestyle will keep diseases at bay. Besides a healthy diet, spare some time every day to consider a physical activity regime and try to control your increasing weight. A healthy weight will not just prevent the development of diseases but also boosts your immune system.
Another lifestyle change that we should take care of is our serving utensils. WWE often tend to store and reheat food in plastic containers that are our worst habit. Plastic contains BPA that is potentially toxic and carcinogenic. Use glass and steel instead of plastic.
These minor changes in diet and lifestyle are possible to beat cancer and reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogenic compounds. Work towards adopting a healthier lifestyle and improve your quality of life.