Health and Wellbeing

Cancer continues to be one of the biggest killers across the Western world. The risk factors vary for different people, with smoking, an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle all contributing towards a greater chance of developing the condition.

Our awareness of these risk factors has increased considerably in recent years; as has the ability of medical experts to detect and treat the disease. This is all great news of course. However there are a number other things that form part of your everyday lifestyle which can also raise your chances of developing cancer.

Here are sixteen of the things you need to be aware of which might be increasing your cancer risk.

Candles

Candles

Many of us burn candles in our homes to produce a more romantic environment or to create a lovely scented aroma. Many modern candles contain something called paraffin wax which is a derivative of the petroleum industry. While making candle manufacturing much easier, this product releases numerous carcinogens such as ketones and toluene as they burn.

The occasional candle in the home certainly won’t cause too many problems, but if you use them regularly try using natural beeswax candles as an alternative. Whatever type you burn in your house ensure that your rooms are well ventilated to ensure the fumes are able to escape.

A whole new arena of diets and advice has now grown up promoting the benefits of eating raw foods including fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Advocates have suggested eating food that has been cooked above 130ºF can cause numerous complaints and illnesses. A diet consisting of nothing but uncooked food doesn’t claim to be a complete cure all, indeed it might even leave you short of certain key nutrients, but increasing the amount of raw food in your diet can really help improve your well-being. Whatever your lifestyle though, here are five great reasons to get more raw food into your diet.

1. Maximize the nutrition in your diet

Max Nutrition

Some methods of cooking can actually reduce the levels of important vitamins and minerals in your food. In some cases, as much as eighty percent of nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid are removed. This means sources of these nutrients like kale, broccoli and cauliflower are ideally eaten raw. If crunching on these veggies as whole foods seems unappealing, simply throw them into a blender alongside your favorite ingredients.

It is also worth knowing that the cooking process can also actually help make some vitamins more readily available in our food. This means a combination of raw and lightly cooked vegetables makes for the ideal diet.

The health of our children is one of the most important things to consider in our lives. This is why we do all we can to protect them from harm wherever we can. Keeping an eye on what our children eat is something we probably all do; however sometimes it is much easier and more convenient to simply reach for the prepackaged snack or processed food and let them have that as a treat. Perhaps this doesn’t really sound too serious but sometimes the food contains things we would rather they didn’t eat. Here are twenty familiar foods that could be causing some serious side effects for your children.

1. Fruit bars
1-fruit bars
Image Source

Sometimes when the kids want something quick and convenient to snack on between meals you might be tempted to give them one of the range of fruit bars on the market. Containing the word “fruit”, the assumption is that these snacks must be OK for the kids.

Some bars on the market are genuinely healthy and contain largely natural ingredients. However others consist of what equates to a fruit jam, containing numerous artificial colorings and additives. Some of these colorings have been linked to the development of thyroid tumors.

Billions of dollars are invested each year in cancer treatment and research across the world, but a healthy lifestyle is still the number one way of preventing the disease. Experts, like those at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, say that developing a healthy diet in particular is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help prevent cancer. A low-fat diet that contains a wide variety of different vegetables and fruits is highly recommended. To help guide you, here are ten foods that form a key part of a powerful anti-cancer diet.

Raspberries

Raspberries

Many different fruits contain vitamins and minerals that can help fight cancer. Raspberries in particular contain a chemical that converts into ellagic acid in the body. This chemical can actually inhibit the growth of cancer cells by stopping the formation of new blood vessels that would potentially feed these cancerous cells. It can also combat free radicals in the body which are known to cause mutations in cells which cause cancer. Raspberries are an easy fruit to incorporate into your diet. A small handful, a few days each week is enough to give you all the cancer fighting benefits. Scroll down and click next to see the rest.

Understanding an Anti Cancer Diet

Following an anti cancer diet is growing all the more important as cancer continues to be one of the major causes of early deaths across the world. Research shows that cancer cells can be stopped in their tracks by adopting the right type of lifestyle.

Hundreds of scientific studies have shown that an inactive lifestyle, smoking, drinking, poor diet and going out unprotected in the sun can all increase the chances of developing cancer. This means that you have a significant amount of control over the likelihood of developing the disease.

In this article we offer some essential advice about your diet; and the impact it can have on reducing your risk of developing cancer.

The Importance of an Anti Cancer Diet

anti-cancer-diet-1

Eating the right anti-cancer diet has a huge role to play in combating cancer. Without being aware of it you may be eating unhealthy foods that actually increase your chances of developing the disease. Similarly there are a number of other “anti-cancer foods” that have been shown to offer some protection.

Even small changes in your diet can have a dramatic impact on your overall health and reduce your risk of getting cancer. Those already suffering from cancer can also achieve significant additional benefits from adopting a healthy diet alongside their medical treatment.

Vast sums of money are spent each year on researching cancer treatment, and treating cancer patients. However governments and health organizations across the world continue to advocate that prevention is far better than cure. This means that the focus on a healthy, anti-cancer diet is growing.

In recent years science has allowed us to understand far more about the composition of our diets. This means that specific foods have now been highlighted for their cancer fighting properties, others for the dangers that they present. This means that managing cancer is no longer just a case of receiving medical treatment; it has become far more about a wider diet and lifestyle choice.

Meat – Understanding the Risks

Meat Understanding the Risks

The link between the consumption of red or processed meat and higher instances of cancer are well established through various scientific studies. These types of meat contain significant amounts of harmful, saturated and trans fats. This means that essentially the higher the amount of red meat in your diet the greater your risk of cancer – particularly bowel and colon cancer.

Even without these high levels of “bad” fats, red meat also contains other chemicals with clear links to cancer. This includes dangerous proteins and toxic nitrogen based compounds. In addition when meat is cooked at high temperatures chemicals known as heterocyclic amines can be formed which have carcinogenic properties. These chemicals can be found in barbecued meats in particular.

Eating virtually any animal product too frequently can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer. These foods contain little or no fiber and so remain in the digestive system for longer meaning that the body has a greater exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. Reducing your intake of red meats means that your body is able to get more of its nutrition from healthier plant based sources.

As well as red meat, the regular consumption of eggs and chicken skin have also been linked to higher cancer rates. Similarly in some studies an increased amount of fish in the diet has been linked to breast cancer in women. However it is important to put these risks in perspective and understand that in moderation these foods offer various health benefits.

Essentially the message is to reduce your intake of red and processed meat as far as possible. If you still want a small amount of red meat in your diet then always go for the healthier cooking options such as roasting rather than frying or barbecuing.

Dairy – Understanding the Risks

Dairy - Understanding the risks

As with red meat, dairy is of course an animal product. As such it inherently carries some of the same risks when it comes to cancer rates. The consumption of dairy products such as cheese has increased massively over the last few decades as our diet has grown unhealthier.

Rather than it necessarily being the fat that dairy products contain, the higher risk is more likely to be associated with dairy protein. This means that reduced fat milk, for example, can still carry the same cancer risks as the full fat version. Indeed some research has suggested that the specific consumption of low fat milk can increase your cancer risk.

Milk contains a number of chemicals that help stimulate growth which is beneficial to the body in many ways. However these chemicals also stimulate the growth of harmful cancer cells. Studies have highlighted a significant link between these chemicals and a higher risk of prostate cancer in particular. However bladder and ovarian cancer also show strong associations with dairy consumption.

As with many foods the key to consuming dairy is to opt for moderation. There are some nutritional benefits to consuming these products but monitoring your intake is likely to limit your cancer risks.

Sugar and White Flour – Understanding the Risks

Anti Cancer Diet - Sugar and White Flour

Sugar and processed (white) flour contain a combination of glucose, triglycerides and insulin. These chemicals have a direct link to diabetes. However there are clear similarities between the risk factors for diabetes and certain cancers. In short higher levels of glucose in the system can result in higher rates of cancers.

Some of these links are due to the higher levels of obesity associated with significant glucose and simple carbohydrate intakes. Being overweight increases your chances of developing cancer so the correlation is fairly clear. More specifically, processed flour is a “readily assimilated carbohydrate” which has been found to act as a carcinogen in the digestive tract.

Processed carbohydrates and sugar give us a significant number of calories but with a very limited amount of genuine nutrition. These are what might be called empty calories and as such they use up the space that should be used for essential vitamins and minerals that can actually help fight cancer.

Wholegrain foods and unprocessed/ complex carbohydrates are far more beneficial to your body. This means that reducing your sugar intake and removing white flour from your diet can help to reduce your chances of developing cancer in the future.

The Importance of Unrefined Plant Based Foods

Anti Cancer Diet - Plant Based Food

Avoiding certain foods can help significantly in reducing your chances of developing cancer. However it is equally important that you also include specific foods in your diet to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals.

One of the most important food groups is fruit and vegetables. Across the Western world very few people have anywhere near enough of these in their diets. The recommendation is that around ninety percent of your calories should come from plant material. Ideally this should be a range of types and colors and in their raw form where possible.

This equates to around two pounds of vegetables and four or five pieces of fruit each day. For the maximum protection against cancer this should include a combination of greens, berries, lentils and seeds.

Particularly beneficial to an anti-cancer diet are the cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables such as broccoli, kale and cabbage contain chemicals known as glucosinolates. These are used by the body in various ways to help fight cancer. This includes inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, reducing the damage caused by cancer and also the removing carcinogens from the body.

Put simply, those people who have a varied diet rich in plant materials have much less risk of cancer. This can be as much as sixty percent lower in some cases.

Some vegetables have been shown to be more beneficial than others. Mushrooms for example have direct links to reducing the rates of breast cancer; one serving of cabbage per week has been shown to massively reduce rates of pancreatic cancer, eating more broccoli and Brussels sprouts may lower the risk of lung cancer and the list goes on.

Plant materials have huge benefits to your overall health. Those who switch to a mainly plant based diet experience healthy weight loss as well as better mental clarity and emotional wellbeing. Therefor fruits, vegetables, and herbs should be the cornerstone of any diet.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Anti Cancer Vitamin D

Like many nutrients, vitamin D is an essential part of a healthy body. More importantly though, vitamin D has been shown to have a key role in fighting cancer. For example, studies over the last few years have shown a correlation between high levels of vitamin D and the risk of breast cancer being reduced by up to forty-five percent. The risk of colorectal cancer is also reduced with a higher level of the vitamin. Not only are risks of developing cancer reduced but vitamin D can also increase survival rates.

Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common in the developed world. Because vitamin D is primarily obtained from exposure to sunlight the obvious advice would be to get more sunshine. However the potential for over exposure to the sun and the increased risk of skin cancer means that this advice is not necessarily appropriate. Instead you may want to look at increasing the amount of vitamin D you obtain through food sources such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel etc.), cod liver oil, (portabello) mushrooms or tofu. Alternatively you may wish to take supplements or eat food fortified with vitamin D, such as cereals and fruit juices which are now available on the market.

Understanding Supplements

Supplements - Understanding an Anti Cancer Diet

As well as vitamin D your diet may also incorporate other vitamin and mineral supplements. While many of these can be beneficial to your overall health; others have been shown to actually have a negative impact.

Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and has been advocated as an excellent supplement for pregnant women as it contributes towards fetal development. However folic acid has inherent risks. Its contribution towards cell growth means that it can actually encourage cancer cells to develop and spread. Taking folic acid in the form of supplements has been associated with increased incidences of breast and colorectal cancers.

There is little need to take folic acid supplements as part of your regular routine; you can get a healthy dose by eating plenty of green vegetables. You should be aware though that if you currently take a conventional multivitamin it is likely that you are already taking folic acid in this form.

Beta-carotene is another supplement to be cautious about. Previously thought to help with reductions in cancer rates, some studies have actually linked it to higher rates of the disease. Beta-carotene is far better in its natural form from fruits and vegetables (such as carrots and beets) which also contain a whole host of other helpful vitamins and minerals.

Genetic modification, pesticides and the risk of cancer

gmo

The science of genetic modification (GM) can be controversial. Genetically modified foods are those which have been altered artificially in order to, amongst other things, improve their resistance to disease. These are changes which could not be achieved through natural processes or hybridization.

Government agencies and private companies in the GM sector  have told the public that these foods are completely safe. However campaigners against the industry have pointed out that these assurances are largely based on short-term testing and the longer-term effects are yet to be established. The links between GM food and cancer have only been studied in animals; but some of these studies have demonstrated that eating GM food can increase the chance of developing cancer.

The use of artificial pesticides on crops is another area that has also been linked to some cancers. The introduction of GM foods has actually seen an increase in the use of some pesticides. Even the limited use of pesticides on food has been shown to increase the risk of brain tumors, breast cancer and leukemia.

If you feel unsure about eating food that has been treated with pesticides or that has been genetically modified then there is now plenty of choice in locally grown, organic produce as an alternative.

Well known anti-cancer & cancer curing diets

Well Known Anti-Cancer Diets

Combating cancer is becoming more and more about lifestyle choices as well as medical treatment. There are a number of well known diets available that claim to help prevent cancer. Others claim to be able to help sufferers actually fight the disease after diagnosis. Here are just some of the more established diets available to you.

Ketogenic Diet

This diet is based on the notion that cells in the human body rely on glucose for fuel. Cells which are not able to access enough glucose switch to using something called ketone bodies instead. However cancer cells are not able to make this switch due to a natural defect in their biology and so survive solely on glucose in the body.

The ketogenic diet exploits this and so sharply limits your intake of carbohydrates (glucose) and instead focuses on naturally occurring proteins and fats. It is not a complicated diet; it just means eating cleanly and staying away from processed meats, margarines and trans fats. Instead you should go for the natural protein in meat, poultry and fish; along with healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts.

Budwig Diet

The Budwig diet or Budwig protocol is a very specific approach developed by a German biochemist in the 1950s. There is no reliable evidence showing a direct link between the diet and the successful treatment of cancer; however it is still popular amongst those diagnosed with the disease to supplement conventional treatment.

The basis of the diet means avoiding meat, sugar and most fats and replacing them with plenty of fruit and vegetables along with high levels of fiber rich foods. This healthy diet is then supplemented by regularly eating ground linseed (the source of flaxseed oil) mixed in with cottage cheese or milk.

Raw Plant Based Diet

Various studies have shown that having a plant based low-fat diet, is one of the most effective ways of preventing cancer from developing. Animal based food such as meat and dairy has been linked with cancer and numerous other serious diseases. The natural solution then is to ensure these foods are removed from our diets.

Virtually all humans have a propensity for cancer cells to develop in their bodies at some time in their lives. Cancer cells “pop up” regularly and it is how the body copes with these cells that determines whether or not it develops into full blown cancer. A plant based diet consisting primarily of vegetables, fruit and beans or lentils means that your body is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber to combat the cancer cells straightaway. Eating food in their raw state means that none of the nutrients are lost in the cooking process.

Juice Fasting

Just like the “raw plant-based diet”; juice fasting relies on using raw vegetables to ensure the body is full of essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals to combat cancer cells.

Alongside conventional medicines, cancer patients using this method go through periods of up to four or five weeks (although it can be less) where they eat nothing but vegetable juices and drink just water.  This can be supplemented with some food such as raw cabbage, broccoli and carrots. However ideally it should include a range of vegetable juices to ensure an effective mix of vitamins.

A variation on this diet involves entirely replacing the vegetable juices with just grapes and grape juices.

Diet Tips to Help Prevent Cancer

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

Focus on fruits and vegetables & herbs

Fruit and vegetables have fantastic cancer preventing properties. However, very few of us get enough of these brilliant natural sources of vitamins in our diets. Carotenoids, selenium, beta-carotene, vitamin C & E are all antioxidants which help keep free radicals at bay, and can be found in abundance in a plant based diet. These nutrients, along with others found in vegetables, have been shown to reduce the risk of developing virtually all types of cancer.

It is best to go for a range of colors and varieties of vegetables to ensure that you are getting a broad range of nutrients. Non-starchy vegetables are a better option so try swapping sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes.

Raw vegetables are the best option – the cooking process can remove many of the nutrients. Similarly whole fruits are invariably better than their juiced alternatives for the same reason. It’s a good idea to have good portion of green leafy vegetables and green herbs on a daily basis.

Another simple thing you can do to boost the amount of antioxidants you get, is drink green tea. Green tea and white tea are loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants and can be a great start to the day. Add some honey if you like it sweet.

Put simply plant based foods are known to be the best cancer-fighting foods, so focusing on getting more into your diet is a great way of reducing your chances of developing cancer.

Increase your intake of fiber

Fiber forms a key part of any cancer fighting diet. Plenty of fiber means that food moves through your digestive tract smoothly and effectively. This means nutrients are absorbed quickly and the waste products are flushed out before they can cause problems.

As well as plenty of vitamins, a plant based diet contains naturally high levels of fiber. If plenty of fruit and vegetables are combined with whole grains, beans and lentils then you stand a much better chance of avoiding stomach, bowel and colorectal cancer.

As well as avoiding processed grains (such as white rice, bread and pasta) to increase your intake of fiber, try to get plenty of water in to your diet too. This will help further encourage you system to flush out toxins.

Eat less red and processed meat

Numerous studies have demonstrated a clear link between cancer and a diet that is high in red and/ or processed meat. Firstly this is because, apart from protein, red meat tends to lack any other beneficial nutrients. Secondly red meat is usually high in saturated fat which is linked to various health conditions including cancer and obesity.

Processed meat in particular presents even higher cancer risks when consumed regularly. This is due in part to the high levels of nitrates which are used as preservatives and flavorings during their preparation. This higher risk means that experts suggest you should try to avoid foods such as salami, pepperoni, bacon and sausages as far as possible.

Becoming a vegetarian may be an option for some; however you may want to just limit your portion size when eating meat or opt for fish or poultry instead.

Opt for healthy fats

A diet containing high levels of fat dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer as well as numerous other life-limiting conditions such as diabetes and obesity. However a diet with no fat can be equally unhealthy.

The best approach is to have a diet high in “good” unsaturated fats, found in olive oil and nuts, along with omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish. It is equally important to avoid “bad” saturated fats which are found in fried foods, vegetable oils and fast foods. Some natural saturated fats such as those found in milk and cheese aren’t necessarily harmful as long as these are eaten in moderation.

Use healthy methods to prepare your food

A cancer preventing diet not only requires you to eat the right types of food. It is equally important to think about the way in which you prepare and cook your meals.

Raw natural plant based foods often present the best health benefits and so their preparation is fairly straightforward. When cooking vegetables, steam them quickly, using just a small amount of water. Overcooking them will result in many of the nutrients being lost.

Some methods of cooking can actually create carcinogens. Frying on a high heat and barbecuing can both lead to cancer causing chemicals being formed within your food. Instead opt for baking, boiling and steaming.

It is also important to store your food appropriately to avoid it going off and developing carcinogens. Make sure that you dispose of food that looks or smells moldy rather than feeling you should use it up.

We all know that a strong heart is essential to our overall health. But as well as looking after our hearts we need to make sure that our whole circulatory system is in good condition. This includes our arteries which can clog up over time due to unhealthy lifestyles. Plaque can build up in our blood vessels and inflammation can also occur. This leads to increased blood pressure and the potential for serious cardiovascular problems.

Many people take prescribed medication to deal with these health problems, this can lead to unwanted side effects. You may be able to get off the medication if you make the proper lifestyle changes – always consult a doctor first. There are certain foods you can eat that can help unclog your arteries. The foods on this list contain antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients that all contribute to your general cardiovascular health. Try to get them into your diet regularly to get healthier arteries.

1. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds
Described as a super food, chia seeds are an ingredient that can regulate your blood pressure and have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels. As well as containing a great shot of fiber these seeds also contain a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid which is essential for your cardiovascular health.

Chia seeds are also great for providing an extra boost of energy when exercising. Ancient Aztec warriors used them during battle for extra strength, and runners and athletes today continue to get benefits from these tiny packets of concentrated energy. Scroll down and hit next to read on…

Artificial teeth whitening has become extremely popular over recent years. We all want gleaming, shiny, white teeth like the celebrities and there are any number of procedures and products all designed to give us a smile to be proud of. These aren’t for everyone though, and many of the commercial treatments can be expensive. Especially when you consider that there are plenty of natural alternatives you can incorporate into your diet instead which help give you whiter, healthier teeth. Here are ten of the best.

Water

Water

The health benefits of water for your overall health are almost too numerous to mention. Even your teeth are helped by drinking it. Firstly swilling your mouth out with water after having dark foods and drinks can stop stains being caused in the first place.

Plenty of water in your diet also controls acidity in the mouth. High acidity is a major cause of damage to tooth enamel; and because the enamel never grows back, teeth can be left vulnerable to staining and other more serious problems.

When it comes to alcohol there is a tendency for many of us to over indulge; whether it is that extra beer or two at the pub after work, the glass (or bottle) of wine to relax when you get home or the weekend party that leaves you fuzzy headed the next morning.

These excesses are enjoyable at the time but sometimes leave your body a little worse for wear; particularly your poor overworked liver. The good news is that, while cutting down a bit on our alcohol intake is invariably a positive step forward, there are also some foods that we can build into our diets to help reverse some of the damage we’ve already done to our liver. Here are just a few of them.

Broccoli

Brocolli

Broccoli, alongside similar cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, increases the amount of glucosulphate in your system. This chemical helps the liver to produce natural enzymes which eliminate carcinogens and other toxins in your blood. Broccoli also contains lots of vitamin B6, lutein and folate which have numerous other health benefits for the blood and wider immune systems.

Perhaps these vegetables aren’t the most exciting additions to an evening meal but, be creative with your recipes, and your liver will thank you in the long run.

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the modern world. It is estimated that as many as half of us will be affected by the disease at some time in our lives. But advances in clinical treatment mean that survival rates continue to rise. There are also things you can do yourself to ensure that your risks are reduced.

Certain lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise and smoking have a direct impact on your chances of developing cancer. However early detection is still the best way to increase the chances of it being treated successfully. It is thought that hundreds of thousands of deaths could be avoided worldwide each year if people went to their doctor earlier to report their symptoms.

Many symptoms could indicate nothing serious and can be treated very easily. But if it does prove to be cancer, early presentation at your doctor will give you the best possible chance of it being treated successfully. Here are some of the things to watch out for.

Detectable Lumps

Lumps

A number of cancers can be identified by locating new, or changing lumps in various parts of your body. Testicular cancer is most frequently identified by finding a small lump or slight swelling in a testicle. Similarly, symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or even a change in the size or shape of the breasts. Lumps elsewhere can also be a sign of cancer including in the neck, armpits or groin.

Checking yourself regularly is one the best ways of identifying problems early. Lumps can be explained in many other ways such as minor cysts or lipoma but it is always best to get them checked out by a professional.

We all know the potential harm that smoking can cause. A significant number of smokers develop serious conditions each year, and many of these are related to the lungs. Of course stopping smoking altogether is still the single best way of avoiding these illnesses. But there are also other things you can do to help clean up your lungs and the rest of your body.

Here are eight great foods and drinks that every (ex) smoker should know about to help have healthier lungs.

Onions

Onions
Onions have been used for many centuries for their various medicinal properties. Recent research has shown that these powerful vegetables can help with a whole host of conditions that includes coughs, angina, bacterial infections, and even the common cold.

When it comes to helping with respiratory problems and clearing out the lungs onions contain sulfur rich compounds which help with lung related conditions such as asthma and severe coughing. The strong compounds also help break down phlegm in the lungs ensuring they are clear and able to function more effectively.

And the great thing about onion is that they are already a key ingredient in many delicious recipes. Scroll down and hit Next to read the rest of the article.

Brazil Nuts

Brazilian Nuts

Brazil nuts are one of the best known sources of a mineral called selenium. This trace element has been linked, in a number of studies, to a reduced risk of death from lung cancer. Those people with higher levels of the mineral had much better survival rates. There is a note of caution here though. Too much selenium in your diet can actually be toxic so be careful not to over indulge.

Brazil nuts are also contain vitamin E which is great for your overall immune system too. They can also be a great source of the “good” fats that your body needs to function effectively.