In this day and age everyone knows someone affected by cancer. With our modern diets full of foods high in unhealthy fats, refined simple sugars, high levels of sodium and toxic additives resulting in higher then normal levels of body fat we put ourselves at greater risk for developing life threatening but preventable diseases including cancer.
During the month of November hundreds of thousands Mo bro’s grow mustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health. Movember has become a movement raising over 125 million dollars towards various prostate cancer charities and men’s health initiatives.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among Canadian men. One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it1. Research has proven that nutrition choices and exercise can reduce the development of inflammation, one of the most known causes of prostate cancer. Reducing your levels of inflammation will greatly decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer and other serious diseases. Inflammatory cells have been found in virtually all prostate cancer tissue that has been removed surgically.
Let’s try to understand the harmful effects of inflammation a bit better. Your body is like an army ready to wage war on anything that invades the system, specifically inflammation. Think of your immune system as the soldiers of the army, ready to fight on a moments notice. When there is an incoming threat from an enemy like bacteria or higher then normal levels of hormones, the soldiers mobilize and attack the harmful invader. The soldiers are actually your white blood cells and instead of bullets they release oxygen and nitrogen radicals to help kill the invaders.
The war zone occurs when you have a constant threat, excess body fat, poor nutrition choices, chronically high levels of stress, poor sleep and are taking in an overload of toxins from your environment. In order to protect the system, soldiers are left behind, and remain unchecked while the same beneficial oxygen radicals that are designed to kill the invaders can break down normal tissue and promote cancer cell growth.
Another war gone terribly wrong.
There is no ONE right way to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body to bring down inflammation levels. Follow the do and don’t suggestions below to improve your nutrition choices and add in daily exercise so you can avoid your body having to wage an unnecessary war.
Do have 7 - 8 Servings Per Day of Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants are mostly found in colourful fruits and vegetables. You get the best bang for your buck when you eat them raw (except tomato products). A standard serving size is about 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked. Think of the size of a softball or your hand closed into a fist.
Organizing antioxidants by colour group is the easiest way to make sure you eat a variety of them.
Red - Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon
**Cooked tomatoes have more concentrated levels of lycopene
Red/Purple - Pomegranates, grapes, cranberries, plums, berries
**Inhibit inflammation and reduce bacteria in the urinary tract
Orange - Carrots, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, sweet potato
**Beneficial for eye sight
Orange/Yellow - Oranges, peaches, papaya, nectarines
**Avoid the juice (high in sugar), eat the fruit
Yellow/Green - Spinach, collard, yellow corn, green peas, avocado, honeydew melon
**Lowers risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
Green - Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, kale
There are a number of fruits and vegetables that don’t quite fit into the colour scheme that are health promotion and should still be eaten on a regular basis.
Celery: Contains salicylic acid which is the active ingredient in aspirin and has been used for centuries to reduce headaches.
Mushrooms: A group of plant foods with beneficial effects on the immune system at the level of the intestines.
Do Buy Your Fruits and Vegetables From The Local Farm.
The soil that the fruits and vegetables grow in matters. If the soil is sick, the vegetables and fruits will not provide you with the nutrients you need. You can tell if the produce had to take a trip to get to your supermarket by the colour of the fruit or vegetable. Out of season fruits and vegetables that are shipped into grocery stores have higher levels of pesticides and undergo a ripening process that changes the natural chemical structure of the fruit or vegetable.
Tomatoes for example, need to be firm to be shipped by truck. They are picked before they are ripe and undergo a ripening process where the helpless tomato is blasted with ethylene gas, a substance normally produced by the tomato as a signal to ripen. While artificially ripening, the lycopene compounds accumulate. When the artificial ripening process stops the formation of lycopene stops. The colour of store bought tomatoes is usually washed out compared to that of the farm tomato because of the shortened ripening process.
Do Build Strong Muscles
Resistance training for 30 - 60 minutes on most days of the week is the best way to reduce your levels of body fat, bring down inflammation and improve your body composition and metabolism. Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with age BUT by choose a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training exercises you can ensure that your body stays strong and healthy. Pick activities you like to do and schedule them into your daily routine. Part of building strong muscles is ensuring you get enough quality protein in your diet. It’s best to choose lean sources like white meat chicken or turkey, egg whites, ocean caught fish, beans/lentils and NON-GMO fermented soy.
Don’t overcook or charbroil your meat on high heat A carcinogen is a chemical that directly or indirectly causes or leads to a more aggressive form of cancer. Cooking any meat on a high heat produces a set of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. Also, charbroiling any type of meat with the skin in tact produces a different set of carcinogens.
It is very difficult to avoid the literally thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our society but when you know better you do better!
Better Cooking Methods:
o Marinate meat and cook on medium heat turning frequently to avoid overcooking
o Baking, steaming or stir frying
Don’t Consume Excess Sugar
I’m sure this isn’t news and if it is what rock are you living under? Consuming excess simple, processed sugars isn’t just detrimental to your weight. Aside from Type II Diabetes, heart disease, lowered immune function and poor body composition sugar is a prime energy source for all cancers including prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer reports that most normal cells can adapt to an environment low in sugar and use other energy sources – a process developed through evolution when people would go through periods of starvation. However, cancer, which grows faster then normal cells, does not have the same ability to adapt to low sugar environments.
What does this mean? The more excess sugar is consumed, the more the tumor is stimulated and the faster is grows.
Cut the excess sugar intake. It doesn’t provide you with nutrition and it detracts from your health. If you are looking for a sweet fix have a piece of fruit instead.
Key Points to Remember
1. Oxidation and Inflammation play key roles in the development of prostate cancer
2. Have 7 – 8 servings of colourful and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables daily
3. Buy most of your produce from your local farmer
4. Bake, steam or stir fry lean protein choices
5. Avoid eating excess sugar
To learn more about Movember or to donate visit the official site http://ca.movember.com/
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN
1 : http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20cancer/Cancer%20statistics/Stats%20at%20a%20glance/Prostate%20cancer.aspx?sc_lang=en#ixzz2AMcMka80