In both naturopathic and Chinese medicine, prevention is the best medicine. Nutrition and lifestyle habits are some of the most important factors in cancer prevention and treatment. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of cancer.
Cancer Prevention Tips from American Institute for Cancer Research
- Be as lean as possible within your normal range of body mass.
- Be physically active as a part of everyday life.
- Limit consumption of calorie-dense foods and sugary drinks.
- Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
- Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- Limit salt consumption.
- Avoid moldy grains, nuts and beans (these may contain aflatoxins).
- Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet.
- Do not smoke and avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.
Additional Naturopathic Tips on Cancer Prevention
In addition to these common sense tips, naturopathic doctors believe there are extra steps we can take to lead healthy lives and reduce our risk of cancer. It means eating well, getting exercise and sunshine, and living balanced lives. Here are a few more cancer prevention tips from a naturopathic perspective:
- Emphasize organic, unrefined, unprocessed and hormone-free whole foods that are high in fiber and essential fatty acids as well as healthy fats. Eat fresh and local as possible.
- Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that are colorful or dark green, include cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Studies show that eating 5 servings of vegetables and fruit a day can decrease your risk of breast cancer by 25%.
- Drink green tea instead of coffee. Consumption of at least 5 cups of green tea daily reduces the risk of breast cancer by about 20%.
- Avoid food additives and preservatives, food colorings, and saturated fats (especially trans fats).
- Limit or avoid caffeine, fried foods, junk foods and fast foods.
- Manage your stress with regular daily exercise including yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Have a good laugh daily.
- Keep strong family and personal ties.
- Eliminate food sensitivities and improve digestion.
- Get adequate restful sleep. Melatonin deficiency is associated with increased risk of breast cancer; getting adequate sleep is very important for cancer prevention.
- Be outdoors and get some sun exposure, but avoid burning. Vitamin D is another important cancer-fighting supplement. Many adults are deficient in vitamin D due to our limited sun exposure (we normally make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight).
It’s said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” No one wants to get a diagnosis of cancer, and while there are no guarantees, following these preventive strategies has been shown to decrease your risk of a cancer diagnosis and the intensive and often toxic treatments that follow. The side effects, by the way, include better general health and vitality, lower inflammation, and lowered risk of many other chronic health conditions.