Cancer is on the rise and is the second leading cause of death excluding cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your risk. Since less than 10% of all cancers are genetic, how you choose to live your life matters. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do today to prevent cancer, and keep your immune system strong, which is your body’s ultimate defense against the disease.
It goes without saying, not smoking and limiting alcohol will decrease your risk of getting cancer so I’m not going to talk about those factors in this article. Smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer, it’s associated with other types as well. Alcohol is toxic to the liver, dysregulates blood sugar, increases inflammation, contributes to obesity, and will obliterate your life if your social drinking turns into an addiction.
1. Eat A Nutrient Dense Diet
I know you’ve heard it ad nausem, but eating a diet rich in nutrients is a powerful defense strategy when it comes to preventing cancer and other chronic diseases, which are rampant in the United States. Foods high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals are what your immune system needs to function at full throttle.
For example, berries are packed full of antioxidants and other life-giving nutrients, and are low glycemic so they won’t mess with your blood sugar, and will keep inflammation in check. Garlic, onions, turmeric, broccoli, and walnuts are other nutrient-dense foods to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis.
Design your meals around colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, pasture-raised poultry, wild-caught fish, and free-range meat. Soak your grains before cooking to make them easier to digest, and to break down the phytates that bind minerals. Better yet, sprout your grains and nuts to increase the vitamin and mineral uptake up to 100 times.
Soy is ubiquitous in the American food supply. If you must eat it, choose the fermented types, such as tempeh and edamame. The phytoestrogens in soy act like estrogen, it’s hard to digest, and over time it can inhibit thyroid function. It’s not hard to find healthy alternatives to soy products. Also, ditch the artificial sweeteners, choosing Stevia or Lakanto instead.
Aim for a fiber intake of 40 to 50 grams per day to sweep the digestive system of debris and clear toxic estrogens from the body, reducing your risk of female-related and colon cancer. Fiber keeps you full longer so you don’t want to eat as much. Jump on the fermented food bandwagon, they’re amazing for digestive health and are economical to make at home.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity is a risk factor linked to cancer. This doesn’t mean that every overweight person is going to get cancer. It is, however, one factor in the broader picture. High insulin levels, along with insulin growth factors (IGF-1) may initiate cancer growth in certain types of cancer.
The chronic inflammation associated with excess body fat is also an issue because low levels of inflammation preclude disease and negatively impact immune function. Excess body fat is correlated to high estrogen levels, which are implicated in fueling female malignancies, such as breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
I have found intermittent fasting, paired with the Ketogenic diet, to be invaluable tools for reducing insulin levels, decreasing inflammation, and improving body mass index. What you eat is important, but studies are now finding that meal timing is another significant factor in regard to weight regulation.
Of course, exercise is also pivotal in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing weight gain. Your immune system will suffer if you don’t move regularly. I like interval training because it lowers insulin, raises human growth hormone, and only takes a few minutes, three times a week.
[READ MORE: “Human Growth Hormone and Intermittent Fasting”]
3. Validate And Express Your Emotions
Emotions don’t get a lot of attention when it comes to cancer prevention. Dr. Candace Pert, a neuropharmacologist and author of Molecules of Emotion,” discovered the opiate receptor. Pert’s revolutionary discovery and research united the fields of immunology, neurophysiology, psychology, endocrinology, and biology, leading to the formation of a new discipline of science called “psychoneuroimmunology.
This new discipline shed light on how thoughts and emotions affect health, positing that illness originates from within. Peptides in the body are not inhibited when emotions are freely expressed, optimizing communication between cells and improving the function of systems within the body.
Conversely, the stress that results from repressed emotions produces blockages, decreasing signaling at the cellular level, which weakens the body and promotes disease. The key is to appropriately own and express your emotions so they don’t fester, and wreak havoc in your body.
Find ways to release long-buried and toxic emotions. Could this mind/body connection be why some people with care-taking personalities, putting their own needs aside, get breast cancer? Don’t underestimate the power your emotions have on your body’s ability to maintain wellness. Express your emotions, rather than stuffing them.
4. Reduce Toxicity
It’s no coincidence cancer rates have risen with the increased toxicity in the environment, and food and water supply. There are many strategies you can start employing today that will reduce your cancer risk. Eliminating sources of toxicity will place less of a burden on your liver so it can better perform its vital functions:
- Buy organic meat, dairy and produce. Conventional sources of these foods contain pesticide, antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs.
- Filter your water. Tap water contains fluoride (in some states), prescription medications, and chlorine that acts like an antibiotic and harms gut bacteria. An easy fix is to filter your tap water. I use a Zero water filter. It’s inexpensive and effective.
- It’s also smart to put a filter on your shower head so you don’t breathe in chlorine when you shower.
- Buy bottled water in glass bottles instead of plastic, which will reduce your exposure to BPA, a synthetic estrogen. This practice is also environmentally friendly.
- Interestingly, indoor air is more toxic than outdoor air. With many of us spending the majority of our days inside, using a quality air filter is a good idea.
- Be cognizant of what you’re putting on your body. Food at least gets filtered through your liver before it goes to your bloodstream. This isn’t the case with body care and cleaning products, which are absorbed systemically through the skin. Buy products that are organic, and free of toxic chemicals, including sulfates, phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde, BHA, and BHT.
5. Additional Sources of Toxicity
- Rather than slathering sunscreen on your entire body when enjoying your time outdoors, cut down on toxicity by wearing a hat or covering up with clothing instead. Sunburns increase skin cancer risk, so be cautious and monitor your time in the sun, while still building your vitamin D stores for healthy immunity. Just 20 minutes of sun exposure, with 40% of your body exposed to the sun’s rays, will give you 20,000 IUs of vitamin D.
- Safe cooking practices can reduce your cancer risk. Slow, low cooking is when you cook your food using lower temperatures for longer periods of time. Low heat preserves the nutrients in the food, whereas high-temperature cooking increases HCAs and PAHs, chemicals linked to cancer. Avoid frying meat, and when barbecuing, marinate your meat to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Avoid using a microwave and opt for traditional stove top or oven cooking. Or use a toaster oven, they’re just as convenient as a microwave, which changes the molecular structure of food, making it toxic.
- If you must dry clean your clothes, air then out before bringing them into the house. Perchloroethylene (PERC) is a toxic solvent used in dry cleaning that has been associated with cancer, more specifically kidney cancer. Launder your clothes at home if possible. I know dry cleaning is convenient, but ask yourself if the convenience is worth the risk.
- New homes are a significant source of toxicity, with eight chemicals in common building materials associated with cancer, including formaldehyde, styrene, and VOCs used in paint, solvents, and synthetic fibers. Keep your home well ventilated when remodeling.
- Radon is a radioactive gas that is emitted from rocks and soil. Exposure to high levels can cause lung cancer so cover your bases when it comes to making sure the radon levels on your property are within the normal range.
6. EMFs Are A Big Deal
Radiation from cell phones has been linked to two types of brain cancer, acoustic neuromas and gliomas. EMFs from cell phones, cordless phones, smart meters, cell phone towers and wifi inhibit your body’s ability to detoxify, increasing cancer risk.
Strategies you can do today include turning off your cell phone at night or at least putting it on airplane mode, always use the speaker phone when talking, avoid carrying your phone in your pocket, use text messaging when a call is not necessary, and avoid using your phone in areas where the reception is weak. And women, please don’t put your cell phone in your bra. Yikes!
ALWAYS turn your wifi off at night from 10:00 p.m.to 8:00 a.m so your body can detoxify while you sleep. Call your internet service provider to install ethernet. I have a handy remote control that makes it easy to turn off the wifi in my house before I go to bed. Certain people are more sensitive to EMFs than others, causing insomnia and other symptoms. Read more here.
7. Reduce Exposure To Radiation
Radiation is dangerous, it damages DNA and can cause cancer. Chest Xrays, and CT and PET scans harm cells. Although, the risk from a single scan is small, imaging tests should be used judiciously because the effects are cumulative. Mammography, dental exams, and airport security screens are other sources of radiation you need to be aware of.
Incidentally, ultrasounds and MRIs are much safer than the tests referenced above as they don’t emit radiation. Damage from radiation is permanent, and accrues with repeated exposure. Thermography, infrared thermal imaging, on the other hand, can detect dysfunction in the body years before symptoms appear, and doesn’t come with the risks inherent in other diagnostic tools.
8. The Health Of Your Mouth Matters
The health of your mouth correlates to the health of your body. Root canals, mercury fillings, and cavitations from tooth extraction where the bone failed to heal properly, can all have a detrimental effect on immune function. Jaw bone infections can result in anaerobic bacteria making their way into the bloodstream. This can lead to chronic disease, including arthritis, autoimmunity, fibromyalgia, headaches, and cancer, etc.
Holistic dentists use thermographic imaging, kinesiology, bio-energetic assessments, and bone scans to detect the source of infection, which are then treated using surgery, lasers, IV vitamin C, homeopathy, and ozone.
Many people don’t correlate poor dental health to cancer risk. If you have a chronic condition, a persistent dull ache in your mouth, have any root canals, or have had your wisdom teeth or other teeth removed, visit a biological dentist to get a thorough assessment.
Brush and floss regularly, get your teeth cleaned from your dentist twice a year, and use a Water Pik to wash bacteria from you teeth and mouth.
9. Targeted Supplementation
Supplementation is crucial, especially when it comes to magnesium, vitamin D, and progesterone. The soil in the United States is devoid of magnesium, which means the food that’s grown in that soil is also depleted of this essential mineral. Magnesium is needed for the 800 enzyme systems to function properly, for ATP production, and so much more.
Vitamin D is absolutely critical for healthy immunity, and is a prohormone rather than a vitamin. If you live in locations above 30 degrees latitude or don’t eat fatty fish, supplementation will likely be necessary to achieve adequate levels. More is not better, though, aim for 1,000 to 2,000 IUs per day.
Progesterone is a female hormone that opposes estrogen, a proliferative hormone responsible for growth. Levels of progesterone decline with age, leading to estrogen dominance, increasing a woman’s cancer risk. Progesterone promotes restful sleep, helps with energy levels, balances out moods, and is necessary to prevent osteoporosis.
Avoid using creams as they build up in the fatty tissue and can cause insulin resistance. I use this progesterone spray.
10. Stress Management, Fulfillment, and Happiness
Your immune system is what will protect you from getting cancer. Did you know that when you’re happy, your body produces healthy levels of key chemicals to keep you well? Your mood is intricately connected to your glands and the hormones they release.
When hormones, such as oxytocin, dopamine, relaxin, and serotonin, are released into the bloodstream, they send powerful signals to the immune system to ramp up production of immune cells.
Laughing for a few minutes a day, giving or receiving small acts of service, a sense of community, and a pervasive sense of fulfilling one’s life purpose elevates levels of white blood cells. On the other hand, chronic stress increases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, putting the body in a flight or fight mode, which deleteriously affects immune function.
Find ways to manage your stress, make time for self-care every day, and spend time doing things that make you happy. Spend time with people that make you laugh and that you’re comfortable sharing your feelings with. Little changes make a big difference over time.
[READ MORE: “5 Ways To Make Self Care A Priority”]
Lifestyles strategies make a huge difference when it comes to cancer risk. Gradually start making changes in your daily habits to assure that your immune system is strong and functioning at its best. Never underestimate the power of healthy living!
What strategies are you currently working on? Let me know in the comment section below:)
(1) Cancer.Net: Obesity, Weight, and Cancer Risk
(2) Healing Cancer: The Research of Candace Pert, PhD
(3) National Cancer Institute: Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk
(4) MedicineNet: Does BBQ Meat Cause Cancer
(5) Natural News: The Hidden Dangers Of Dry Cleaning Exposed
(6) Inhabitat: Report Reveals That Three Common building Materials Are Now On The Cancer List
(7) The Truth About Cancer: Do Cellphones Cause Cancer?
(8) National Cancer Institute: Radiation
(9) Breast Cancer Choices: Progesterone
(10) Just Say No To Cancer: Happiness and Health are Linked
Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.