Zena Le Roux – Tips to minimise your risk of cancer

Cancer is caused by a number of factors. When it comes to diet and lifestyle changes, the following factors could minimise your risk:

o Reduce exposure to carcinogens

Our increased exposure to carcinogens is without a doubt a significant contributor to cancer. By changing your diet and lifestyle, your exposure can be decreased substantially. Eating wholesome foods that are as close to nature as possible will minimise your exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Processed meats should be avoided as it contains nitrates. Avoid oxidised, burnt or browned food which adds to the carcinogenic load of the meal. Eat more raw foods and steam-fry or boil food where possible instead of using high heat cooking. 

o Increase antioxidants

Antioxidants have the capacity to disarm or remove damaging oxidising agents in the body. Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruit will be very protective. Where you find the most flavour and colour in food, you will also find the most antioxidants (strawberries, blueberries etc). Remember that heating destroys antioxidants, so aim to include a lot of raw or lightly steamed or cooked veggies to your diet. 

o Is your liver detoxifying properly?

If your liver is compromised, one of your key lines of defence is compromised. This could be due to an underlying imbalance or because of over-exposure to toxins. The more antioxidants and fibre you eat, the more efficient your liver will be. Other liver-friendly foods include rocket, garlic and onions.

o Boost your immune system 

The weaker the immune system, the more cancerous cells can multiply. Cigarettes, coffee, sugar, stress, alcohol, a negative attitude and a lack of sleep could all add to suppressing the immune system.

o Lower inflammation

 Cancer needs inflammation to grow. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are therefore, crucial. Try avoiding inflammatory compounds such as processed or damaged fats (from processed and fried foods), dairy and burnt meat. Make sure to balance your blood sugar for reduced inflammation. 

The best foods you can start including in your diet today are brightly coloured vegetables and fruit such as berries, carrots, tomatoes, beetroot and cherries, turmeric, garlic, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, broccoli) and oily fish. Foods to avoid include meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol. 

Please check with your doctor or oncologist before making any changes to your diet. 

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