Cancer is a word that has become all too common in our society today. Cancer is today the second leading cause of death by disease, in line after heart disease. In 2009 it was estimated to cause about 23% of all deaths in the United States and statistics show that 1 in 2-3 people (depending on the source) will be touched by cancer in their lifetime.
So what is cancer? Simply put it is a mutation that occurs in our cells that interferes with proper cell replication. Where as healthy cells have a distinct start and stop time, cancer cells don’t and hence replicate uncontrollably.
Many people have been taught to believe that cancer happens by some random mutation or is some unfortunate stroke of luck or fate, and they have no say in the matter. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Today it has been determined that cancer for the most part is a lifestyle related disease. The top three cancers for both sexes continue to be lung cancer, colon cancer and prostate/breast cancer. All three of these are heavily tied to one’s lifestyle.
This means that your habits, whether it comes to food or general living have a heavy and direct influence in increasing or decreasing your odds of cancer. In reality there is a tiny percentage of people who get cancer from random, spontaneous mutations. The majority of cancers are in fact greatly avoidable. It just depends on how conscious you choose to live your life and what habits you choose to make part of your life.
Thus today I want to share with you the top 13 factors to be aware of to decrease your chances of cancer and most probably living your whole life cancer free.
1. Oxygen Levels in the Body
Based on the work of Otto Warburg, MD, a Nobel Prize winner, in the 1930′s, he discovered that compared to normal cells, cancer cells have a low respiration rate. This implies that cancer cells thrive in low oxygen environments and are unable to survive in high oxygen environments.
This is why on a practical level, we should get some exposure to fresh air daily, practice some breath work each day and have a healthy amount of physical activity.
2. Proper Type of Water and Intake
Water is the substance of life, and more and more research is showing that properly hydrated systems are also able to function optimally warding off any diseases. Most of us however consume nowhere near the optimal amounts of water each day and to add to that water of sufficiently high quality, where both bottled water and tap water are not satisfactory.
The optimal fluid of choice each day should be water. Not juice, not coffee and especially not soda. High quality water includes water from natural springs or a well. You can find a spring near you here: findaspring.com
As for the amount, whether you look at it as 8 glasses, 2 liters or the amount of water in mL equal to your weight in ounces, it is important to get that each day.
3. Acidic Lifestyle
An acidic lifestyle has also been attributed to the presence and proliferation of cancer cells. While mainstream medicine won’t admit that yet, naturopathic and other alternative doctors are clearly seeing this link.
Where does an acidic lifestyle come from? Processed food,diets high in animal products, diets high in sugar, diets high in alcohol, drugs and prescription medication and over exercising are some of the most common ways the body loses its delicate acid/alkaline balance.
4. Diets low in Fruits and Vegetables
It is now becoming common knowledge and preached by almost every cancer society and doctors, that a healthy diet and top way to avoid cancer is to eat a diet high in fresh and organic fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables contain plant compounds called phytochemicals which science is just beginning to grasp and learn about, but about which we already know enough to know that many have strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
5. Diets high in Meat and Animal Products
Aside from being acidic, meat and animal products, such as dairy are processed today with many compounds that alter the proper biochemistry of our body. To preserve meats, especially ones like cold cuts preservatives that are strongly linked to cancer are used. All meats that are cooked, especially at high temperatures and allowed to brown or charcoal produce carcinogenic compounds that are ingested upon eating the item.
In dairy, the protein casein has been linked to numerous health problems including cancer. As well most dairy today is also subjected to food processing methods and synthetic chemicals that are less than ideal for health and increase the risks of mutations within the body.
To add to all of the above, animals are fed pesticide-laden plant food often, especially if they come from non-organic sources. Many of these toxins build up in the animal’s fat tissue, which is later consumed by us.
6. Diets high in Processed Food
Aside from being highly acidic and nutrient stripped, processed food today is loaded with so many chemical substances. While associations like the FDA consider most of these to be GRAS – generally recognized as safe, our health is showing otherwise.
From artificial colors and flavors to stabilizers and preservatives, most packaged items come with ingredients that many of us can neither pronounce nor decipher what the heck they are. Hence for reducing your risk of cancer, avoid processed food. Cultivate a new relationship with food and begin to take proper time for your health by preparing your own food.
7. Drugs such as Alcohol and Cigarettes
While it is common knowledge today that cigarettes are serious risk factor for developing cancer, the same is not yet known about alcohol.
Alcohol, especially in high amounts is a carcinogenic substance to the body and despite what the fancy liquor commercials try to tell you, should be avoided for optimal health.
8. Sun Exposure
Vitamin D research has become a top priority in the past decade as more and more research is showing that low levels of vitamin D are greatly tied to cancer, and highly optimal levels are preventative against cancers.
While some food and supplements can offer some vitamin D, the sun is still our number one source for this vitamin. Smart sun exposure should be practiced year round, as aside from the vitamin D, the sun has many other healing and wellness properties. For more information on safe sun exposure, check out the Sun Smart Series.
9. Exposure to Household Chemicals
Did you know that the average woman today uses over 12 personal care products each day and together that amounts to hundreds of chemicals that she is subjected to each day. And almost none of them tested properly on their own, let alone in combination together?
Reducing your exposure to household chemicals, especially ones you use on your body is key in reducing your chances of cancer. These include: personal care products, cleaning products, food with pesticides, insect repellents, air fresheners, plastics, stain removers, coated pots and pans, treated furniture, perfumes, sunblocks, etc.
10. Exposure to Industrial Chemicals
The threat of industrial chemicals has been known pretty much since the start of the industrial revolution. Whether it is mining, nuclear work or any kind of chemical work – most of these (some more than others) pose a great threat to our health and well being, especially where cancer is concerned.
If you don’t work in a high risk job, be sure not to live next to a high risk site. This can be down-wind from farms who spray pesticides, near a nuclear reactor, or in any area congested with factories.
Stress is one of the most damaging things to our health and well being. While humans have evolved to have various mechanisms to cope with stress, it is quite uniformly agreed upon that never had humans had such constant stressful living conditions.
Stress depletes nutrients in our bodies, causes acidic states within it and prevents proper healing. During times of stress most people also breathe very shallow, thereby decreasing their internal oxygen content.
One can do all the right stuff mentioned above and actually not benefit, if one cannot find a way to deal effectively with their stress. There needs to be moments of relaxation and effective coping mechanisms in place for dealing with not just stress but emotions and feelings.
Proper sleep – that means the time it is taken and the length are crucial for optimal health.This is the greatest time where our body has a chance to restore and repair any damage and heal.
Ideally one should be sleeping from around 10pm for on average 8 hours. Yes, it matters greatly that the time of sleep starts are 10pm and not midnight or later. For more information on sleep, check out the Sleep Aware Series.
13. Weight Control
In a world where obesity is affecting so many people, it is no surprise that numerous diseases are also tied to this state. The more weight we carry, the more our body struggles and is put in a state of stress on each and every organ. The more weight we carry, the less efficient our body often becomes at normal healing and protective tasks.
According to Cancer.gov, in 2001, experts concluded that cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus are associated with obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.
Thus, maintaining a healthy body weight is a key component in decreasing your chances of cancer.
Remember, over-reacting and trying to live in a bubble is not the answer here. Neither is throwing your hands up in despair and saying “oh everything today causes cancer.” The latter is completely false.
The key to a long, healthy and happy life is to be empowered to make the best decisions for you and your family where health is concerned. The best news is that yes, we do have a choice. You have a choice at every moment to decrease or increase your risk of cancer. Most of us today have seen the pain, suffering, fear and anguish involved with someone who gets cancer. None of us want to be there, and yet so few of us are willing to take steps today to ensure that doesn’t happen tomorrow.
The choice is yours in how you want to protect yourself and what conscious steps you will take today to ensure a healthy tomorrow. What do you choose?