by Shalini Singh

Scary fact : Annually, more than  10 million people worldwide are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, a disease that practitioners commonly believe, is preventable.

Only 5%–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle factors (includes cigarettes, diet (fried foods, red meat), alcohol, sun exposure, environmental pollutants, infections, stress, obesity, and physical inactivity)

Medical evidence reveal that of all cancer-related deaths, almost 25–30% are due to tobacco and as much as 30–35% are linked to diet, about 15–20% are due to infections, and the rest are due to other factors like radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants etc.

You’ve probably heard conflicting reports about cancer prevention. A specific cancer-prevention tip recommended in one study or news report is advised against in another.

In many cases, what is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it’s well-accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make.

What causes cancer?

Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally has a potential to cause cancer. Many factors can cause cell abnormalities and have been linked to cancer development. Some cancer causes remain unknown while other cancers have environmental or lifestyle triggers or may develop from more than one known cause. Some may be developmentally influenced by a person’s genetic makeup. Cancer in many cases is due to a combination of these factors. Although it is often difficult or impossible to determine the initiating event(s) that cause a cancer to develop in a specific person, research has provided cancer specialists with a number of likely causes that alone or in concert with other causes, are the causative factors for initiating cancer.

So cancer prevention is on your mind, rest assured that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Consider these  cancer prevention tips : Fruits and vegetables have  more fiber, and more cancer-fighting nutrients. These two factors work together to support your immune system and help your body fight off cancer.  Currently, most people fall woefully short of the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables. In fact, most of us need to double the amount we currently consume to stay healthy and help prevent or fight cancer.

Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research shows that poor diet and not being active are two  key factors that can increase cancer risk. The good news is that you can do something about this!

Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:

Get to and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

Be physically active on a regular basis.

Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.

The evidence for this is strong. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the world are related to body fat, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and hence are preventable.

Control your weight.

Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases of the heart and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, amongst others.

Being overweight can also increase cancer risk in many ways and   causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that could stimulate cancer growth.

Be more active.

Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by addressing weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.

More good news – it is accepted that physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!

The latest recommendations for adults calls for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.

Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes activities  like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activity works your large muscle groups, makes your heart beat faster, breath faster and deeper, and makes you sweat.

It’s also important to minimize sedentary lifestyle such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.

Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.

Eat healthy foods.

Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:

Go for foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.

Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and

 calories . Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.”

Eat smaller portions when eating high-calorie foods.

Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.

Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.

When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid those large portion sizes.

Limit intake of processed meat and red meat.

Limit your consumption of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meat, and hot dogs.

Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).

If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.

Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.

Have at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.

Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.

Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.

Emphasize on whole fruits and vegetables; avoid those tetra pack vegetable or fruit juices.

Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with fruits and vegetables.

Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.

Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals (such as barley and oats) instead of breads, cereals, and pasta made from refined grains

Limit your intake of refined carbohydrate foods, including pastries, candy, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high-sugar foods.

If you drink alcohol, stick to your limit. ( a safe bet is no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women). The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.

A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.

These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other issues.

Reducing cancer risk in our communities

A very recent study has revealed that Cancer is a very recent disease and that it didn’t exist in earlier times ( native African & indian tribes were researched ) which largely indicate that processed foods play a very large role .

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behavior. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.

We can all be part of these changes: Let us demand healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.

FOODS that help reverse Cancer

Carrot is one of the top-of-the-list anticancer herb, being rich source of antioxidants like Flavanoids , Carotenoids and Falcarinol . Research has proved that increase in carotenoids in the blood levels prevents the blood cells from getting cancerous .

Aloe Vera protects the immune system and hence can help prevent cancer .

Turmeric has potent antioxidants and should definitely be incorporated in your diet

Drumsticks ( Moringa leaf extract ) can be had twice a day as a juice .

The bottom line

Challenge yourself to lose some extra pounds, increase your physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.

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Shalini has diversified her study and researches food, bioengineering of foods using technology to generate nutrient dense foods, human anatomy at a cellular level, and the real impact of exercise on muscular ageing.


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