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Preventing Cancer

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One-third of all the cancers that occur in the United States could be prevented by three things:

1. What we weigh

2. What we eat

3. How we move

What we weigh: Excess body weight is proven to increase the risk for cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, endometrium, kidney, and breast. Fat cells are not inert; they produce estrogen which promotes cell growth and produces a variety of proteins that cause inflammation and insulin resistance, which in turn promote cell growth and cell reproduction. The more often cells divide, the more opportunity for cancer to develop.

What we eat: The best way to prevent cancer is by what we put in our mouths. Aim for two-thirds of the plate to be filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. Fill the other one-third with lean protein. The more fruits and vegetables we eat, the more antioxidants and phytochemicals we get into our bodies. These phytochemicals, especially the flavenoids in fruit, battle cancer by boosting enzyme activity in the liver which breaks down toxins in the system and helps prevent the spread of cancer. Without getting into too much detail, fill the grocery cart with unprocessed, whole, colorful foods. Avoid low quality meat products with nitrates (like bologna or hot dogs) and meats high in saturated fat (like steak). The fats we want to consume are the essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. The essential fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body. Get as much sugar and white flour as possible out of your diet; sugar feeds cancer and suppresses white blood cell production. Following this cancer prevention diet of whole foods will also help with attaining a healthy body weight.

How we move: Aim for thirty minutes of physical activity every day. Exercise affects hormone levels, immune function, and body weight. Exercise can be as simple as a walk, gardening, or swimming—the important thing is getting out and moving.


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