How to Prevent Cancer Naturally

How to Prevent Cancer Naturally

Cancer in all its forms is one of the most deadly, but least understood diseases. It's estimated that genetic predispositions account for about 15 percent of a person's likelihood of contracting the disease. That means about 85 percent of cancers are linked to lifestyle choices and environmental conditions. With a single cure for cancer proving elusive, many are turning to prevention as the best remedy. Preventing cancer through natural methods involves consuming substances that can help the body stop cancer from forming, avoiding carcinogens and promoting all around health.

Tips

1. Have a glass of wine. Studies published in the journal "Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology" have shown a glass of red wine a day might reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men by half. Additional research on animals published in the "Journal of Biological Chemistry" suggests the phytochemicals in red wine can have beneficial effects on prevention and treatment of leukemia, skin and breast cancers (see resources below). This is because the skin and seeds of grapes contain a polyphenol compound called resveratrol that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants prevent and repair the damage to cells that can make them susceptible to irregular growths, which can become cancer. Red wine is made from the skin of grapes, which contains resveratrol, and has more polyphenols than white wine.

2. Eat antioxidant-rich fruits and drink green tea. In addition to grapes, several other berries contain high levels of polyphenol compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer. At the top of the list is the acai berry, a fruit native to South America. Also high in cancer-fighting chemicals are blueberries and raspberries. Fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables generally contain antioxidant compounds, like bioflavonoids, not present in most processed foods. Green tea, when freshly brewed, is also an excellent source of antioxidants.

3. Indulge in dark chocolate. Rich in antioxidant flavonoids, dark chocolate enjoyed a renaissance when the cancer-fighting properties of these compounds were heralded. A specific flavonoid, called pentamer, is present in cocoa, and has been shown to suppress division of tumor cells by deactivating certain related proteins. It's debated whether eating chocolate can deliver these flavonoids in sufficient quantities to prevent cancer, but dark chocolate, which has the highest content of cocoa, is the best source.

4. Supplement with selenium. Whereas antioxidants work to minimize and repair the damage of free radicals on individual cells, the mineral selenium has been shown to reduce the production of free radicals. The recommended dose of selenium is 200 micrograms a day, but most Americans get between 60 and 100 micrograms from dietary sources. Selenium intake can be increased through supplements or increasing your consumption of mushrooms, egg yolks, seafood, poultry, kidney, liver, red meat, garlic, onions, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, whole grains, and seeds--all of which contain the mineral in relative abundance.

5. Get enough exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking five times per week is enough exercise to help prevent cancer. Research shows that exercise helps the body regulate blood sugar, insulin levels, and the production of sex hormones, all of which have been indicated as risk factors related to increased rates of cell growth that can lead to the initiation of cancer. Regular exercise also promotes a healthy immune system, and is highly recommended for those already diagnosed with cancer.

6. Avoid risk factors. Unfortunately, avoiding environmental toxins can be one of the hardest parts of preventing cancer. Exposure to toxic chemicals can come through obvious interaction with pollution or waste, or through more subtle means like cosmetics, hair dyes, shampoos and deodorants. Other risk factors for cancer include prolonged hormone therapy, prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco and diets high in animal fats.