Seven Novel Strategies for Spring or Anytime Cleaning to Prevent Cancer

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Spring flowers-fly-garden_PexelsFlowers are blooming and birds are singing as spring arrives after a long winter. Spring cleaning is a buzzword now. Some people are excited about cleaning for fresh and renewed homes; in contrast, others see spring cleaning as a daunting task and feel overwhelmed even just running down a long checklist. Either way is understandable.

Here is the point: spring cleaning doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all, and you can gain cancer prevention benefits out of different kinds of spring cleaning. You will know why after reading the novel yet actionable ideas and strategies I outline here.

1.     Manage spring cleaning with a workable goal.

It’s desirable all rooms and corners of your house spotless, but it’s not a must. So, setting a priority (e.g., the kitchen or bedroom) can be very workable, especially when time is not on your side. Furthermore, your goal is more achievable when you make spring cleaning a family function. A bonus is that working together as a family helps foster responsibility for kids. It’s of course important to do chemical-free cleaning (e.g., e-cloths, baking soda, and vinegar) if you can.

2.     Clean out junk foods to optimize your heart health and for cancer prevention.

Go to your refrigerator and your pantry and you will likely find foods or drinks containing some cancer-causing ingredients such as:

-       Trans fat: it increases your bad cholesterol (LDL) and at the same time lowers your good cholesterol (HDL). Therefore, it is not only a double whammy on your heart, but also a fireball for inflammatory diseases such as cancer.

-       Sweeteners: commonly used aspartame causes various illnesses from birth defects to cancer.

-       High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or refined sugar: cancer cells have sweet teeth!

-       Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs): both GMOs and the chemicals used to grow them have been shown to promote tumor growth.

-       Processed meats: they contain cancer-promoting agents like sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate.

-       Canned food containing BPA.

3.     Clean mental clutter to lower stress and enhance immunity.

-       Get rid of stress.

-       Get rid of negative thoughts, worries, and self-doubts.

-       Take a yoga class, a bath, or a walk; treat yourself to a massage or go out for lunch or dinner with a friend; whatever works best as a stress reliever for you, just do it.

4.     Clean your mouth to reduce oral cancer risk.

-       Quit smoking.

-       Avoid alcohol.

-       Make a daily habit of brushing and flossing your teeth.

-       Schedule a dental cleaning and oral cancer screening.

5.     Clean the fat in your body to gain long-term health.

Obesity is a risk factor for certain cancers, in addition to increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So, by promoting fat breakdown, you may compensate certain aspects of obesity that cause diabetes. Certainly, you cannot gain a healthy weight overnight, but you do have options to modify your diet and lifestyle starting with cleaning out junk foods and taking actions such as:

-       Stay away from high-fat and high-sugar foods.

-       Start or continue a balanced diet rich in fresh veggies, fruits, proteins, and fiber.

-       Burn some fat by exercising and being more physically active.

-       Drink more water or tea instead of sugar- or sweetener-rich drinks.

6.     Clean the air to remove pollutants that cause cancer and allergies.

-       Check for and remove asbestos, a lung cancer-causing agent.

-       Test for radon level while increasing ventilation in your house. Radon is a radioactive but colorless, odorless gas.

-       Install an air freshener, which is a great aid to cleaning indoor pollutants.

7.     How about “digital cleaning”?

In this digital age, our lives are influenced by digital devices in many ways. “Digital hazards” can affect your health more than you may realize. You can help detox yourself from them simply by doing the following:

-       Clean your inbox. This can be a jump start of a “digital detox.” Eliminate all junk mail, and if possible stop those pesky unwanted emails from arriving in the first place. Delete old and useless email, and organize your inbox in more efficient ways.

-       Clean out all electronic wastes, such as old cell phones or other electronic devices, and take them to a safe disposal location designated by your local government. Donate your old computer to a cause if it’s still functional.

-       Clean viruses, spyware, and malware that may be in your computer. Backup your files and organize your passwords – whatever you do to make your computer run faster and less vulnerable to cyber threats, it will make your stress level lower and your life easier.

-       Keep your bedroom free of iPads, iPhones, and other digital devices as much as you can, because they are hazards to your snoozing, and consequently your health.

Of course, you can do more beyond these lists, but you get the idea.

I hope these strategies provide valuable insight into some small, easy, and quick steps you can take towards lowering your cancer risk. Spring or anytime cleaning of the areas outlined here can be a great strategy for cancer prevention and other health benefits.

 

Image credit: by Pexels

Make the Most of Your Sleep: For All Your Health, Including Cancer Prevention

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

alarm-bell-clock-338-524x350Here’s a troubling statistic: An estimated 60 million US adults have sleep disorder, making insufficient sleep an increasing public health issue.

How about you? Do you sleep too little or too much? Do you toss and turn at night?

Even if your answer to one of these questions is Yes, you may, like many people, consider trouble sleeping at night to be No Big Deal.

But that’s far from true. And that’s why today, we focus on how sleep can have a significant impact on keeping cancer at bay.

Let’s look at some facts:

  1. Both too little sleep and too much sleep are associated with higher mortality from all-cause illnesses.
  2. Working night shifts with long exposure to light at night disrupts circadian rhythms and has been found to contribute to an increased breast cancer risk.
  3. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA, often indicated by heavy snoring) is a condition in which the human body is temporarily deprived of an adequate oxygen supply to the blood.  Recent studies show that patients with OSA have a higher prevalence of cancer and cancer-related death than those without OSA, suggesting that OSA promotes cancer development and progression.
  4. One publication (by Matthews’ group, 2014) reported that people living a sedentary lifestyle (sleeping less than 7 hours/day, with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity less than 1 hour/week, viewing television more than 3 hours/day, and with a BMI greater than 25) had significantly higher all-cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
  5. Individuals with a sleeping disorder are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as depression, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
  6. Sleep disturbance is among the top 10 key health issues in menopausal women.
  7. Sleep disturbance and/or sleep deprivation can critically harm your health based on a reciprocal link between sleep and inflammatory biology. Sleep disorders can negatively affect your immune functioning, including antiviral responses and proinflammatory responses.

In sum, accumulating evidence has demonstrated that getting adequate sleep has a significant positive influence on your health, including preventing development of certain cancers.

If you have trouble sleeping, it’s best to seek professional advice to help determine whether it is due to a psychological or a pathophysiological issue. Adequate duration and good quality of sleep absolutely go a long way toward securing your optimal health, a lowered cancer risk, and an increase in your quality of life and productivity.

In brief, sleep is very important and valuable for your health; so, make the most of it!

Image credit: by Pexels

The Best Way to Prevent Colon Cancer: Know Your Risk First

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Fortunately, it cancer is preventable especially by living a healthy lifestyle.

What can you do to prevent colon cancer?

There could be overwhelmed information and many things you can do for colon cancer prevention. However, one sure-fire step is to know risk factors of colon cancer. For those who are unaware of what risks are, let’s go through it.

1.     Age

Colorectal cancer risk increases after age 50. As you get older, your risk of colorectal cancer gets higher. More than 90% of this disease are diagnosed after age 50.

Colon cancer n polyp_MedincineNet2.     Colon polyps

Polyps are small growth in the colon or rectum. Most of them are not cancerous, but some can become cancer and they are commonly seen in people over age 50.The risk of colorectal cancer increases with the presence of polyps. Some polyps are inherited such as seen in familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which can measurably increase colorectal cancer risk.

That is why early detection by colon cancer screening is vitally important. A colonoscopy remains the gold standard for screening, because it provides the best view of your entire colon and cancerous polyp(s) can be removed during the procedure.

3.     Family or personal history of cancer

Having biologically close relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) with colon cancer doubles your risk of colon cancer. Previous personal history of cancer or any inflammatory bowel disease increases your risk of colorectal cancer too.

 4.     Obesity

Obesity has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers including colorectal cancer.

5.     Physical inactivity

Sedentary behavior or lifestyle has been linked to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. It can also increase the risk of several cancers including colorectal cancer. So, you may want to examine your TV viewing time, internet surfing time, recreational and/or occupational sitting time, and might be surprised by your total sitting time!

6.     Imbalanced gut bacteria

Growing evidence has pointed to how bacteria may influence the risk for cancer. Millions of microbes in your gut interact with your immune system, some are beneficial, but some are harmful. Experts believe that when bad bacteria overruns your digestive system, you might suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, and may also be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, because bad bacteria generate waste products that harm colon tissues and make them more vulnerable to malignancies.

 7.     Tobacco smoking

Cigarette smoking has been linked to a higher risk for several types of cancer; colon cancer is among them.

8.     Heavy alcohol consumption

Colorectal cancer has been linked to heavy intake of alcohol. The fact is that heavy alcohol users tend to have low levels of folic acid in their bodies. Most studies in humans indicate a clear link between colorectal cancer development and inadequate folate consumption. Furthermore, research has shown that folate deficiency increases DNA damage by decreasing the expression of two genes involved in DNA repair.

9.     Diet low in fiber but high in red meats

Surely, it is not clear how much diet might contribute to an increased risk of colon cancer. However, a diet that is high in red meats (e.g. beef, pork, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (such as hot dogs) can increase colorectal cancer risk. Again, a balanced, fiber-rich diet with a lot of vegetables can protect your colon from cancer.

Furthermore, if you are at age of 50+, you can assess your colorectal cancer risk using this interactive tool provided by NCI.

One more point, please be aware that some of these risks are potentially enhanced in modern society. For examples, TV watching is often associated with drinking sweetened beverages and eating junk foods. Sitting in your car during the long commute frequently comes with stress. Overall, these risk factors have a detrimental impact on colon cancer development.

So, what is the next? Take action, be proactive to optimize your colon health, and stop colon cancer NOW!

Image credits: By http://www.medicinenet.com

A Message from World Cancer Day 2015

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Does the word “cancer” scare you? Sure, it scares almost all of us.

Then the question is – Are you determined to do something every day to stay away from that “big C”?

environment-concept-1024966-mThis year’s World Cancer Day has focused on the fight against cancer with a positive and proactive approach to patient treatment and care. It also stresses that meeting challenge of prevention is not beyond our control. One of important approaches outlined is to promote an enabling environment for healthy living in our communities. Let me expand it a little more.

Raising awareness of healthy environment at home, work and communities at large is paramount. Harmful chemicals post a serious, sometimes lethal, threat to public health. Among them, some are known carcinogens to humans, others are tumor enhancers that are originated from the use of tobacco, alcohol and effects of food components as factors to promote cancers. Needless to say, many of them contribute to chronic illnesses such as heart problems, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep in mind, these carcinogens and toxins are hidden, heavily-loaded, and unpleasantly surprised to many folks. Just take a quick tour around your home, you’ll have an inventory on the spot.

-   Household products from cleaners, drain openers, air fresheners to paints and art supplies

-   Personal care products such as body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorants, and cosmetics

-   Food (fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat and fish) containing toxic pesticides, herbicides and preservatives

There could be more…

Toxic environmental agents play a role in developing cancers and devastating millions of lives. In addition, the negative consequence could have an impact on our next generations. Without doubt, public health perspective is logical and scientific. However, there are obstacles such as convenience, economic or profit interests, and sometimes politics.

Preventable exposure to toxins is a key to fighting cancer. That’s why we should do our parts to remove those “scaring carcinogens or toxins” from our food, water, and air. We should take small steps every day to avoid or minimize any harmful exposure, whenever and wherever possible. Eventually, we can reduce the risk of cancers that are preventable and are associated with hazardous environmental chemicals.

Let “Green” environment beautify the world!

 

Image credit: by spekulator

Resolve to Get Healthier and Happier

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

2015 HappyHealthy_CPDWe all love a fresh start in the new year, right? It’s time to expect great things and to make various refreshing resolutions. So, let’s jumpstart the 2015 with some New Year’s Resolutions for Health.

What’s your top health resolution? Lose weight? Get in shape? Eat healthier? Whatever health challenge you face, whatever fitness goal you set, this year can be your year and your victory!

Unfortunately, it’s also easy to fall down the slippery slope with your New Year’s Resolutions, which happens to many by the middle of February and is often referred to as “falling off the wagon.” One of the primary reasons for this is that many people set unrealistic goals without including specific and attainable actions within a time frame. So, I’m here to help you stay on the wagon throughout the year with a lighthearted yet fully conscious approach.

Here are some suggestions that you can start with and then develop into whatever works best for you.

1.      Stick to a fitness routine. Sounds boring? Well, keeping healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Find a way to set a fixed time, implement a novel technique, alternate your regimens, or create some new motivations. But by all means, keep things interesting!

2.      Try something new. That’s always fun! Take up a new sport, start a new habit, or read a new book on health. Engaging in volunteer work is one way you can keep physically active.

3.      Say YES to kale. And certainly, you can also say YES to other green leafy vegetables. As for kale, it’s rich in health-promoting compounds; it’s also an anti-cancer agent because it can protect DNA from damage by free radicals. Personally, I’ve made this resolution and have already had a couple of dinners with kale this new year.

4.      Give a second thought to genetically modified (GMO) foods and fast food. These foods are characterized by too much salt, refined sugars, and saturated fat. They damage your heart, kidney, other organs, and immune system. Impaired immune function means a weakened natural defense against cancer. More dangerously, any poor dietary choices are encoded into our gut, our genes, and passed on to our offspring.

5.      Reduce stress by practicing a screen-smart solution (i.e., a “Digital Detox”). We are in an age when internet addiction is a real and serious problem, and it affects the health and social connections of many people, especially kids. Things you can do to reduce stress include – but are not limited to – not bringing your cell phone to your bedroom or having your iPad next to your pillow. You can also reduce email checking, as well as Facebook and Twitter time. By spending smart-screen time, you can make more time for your family.

6.      Get a health screen and/or cancer screen. Check your critical numbers and be aware of your body. For example, know your blood sugar level to prevent diabetes. If you’re over 50, get a cancer screen to detect any pre-cancerous growth early.

7.      Give yourself a pat on the shoulder, a treat, or a high-five as a reward.

It’s important to remember: Look up, look forward and move on, but don’t look back and look down. Resolve to get healthier and happier. You can do it!

 

Image credit: partial contribution by ba1969

How to Enjoy a Happy and Stress-proof Holiday Season

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Stress_is-it-friday-yet-704781-mHoliday Season is approaching! Are you excited or stressed out? The primary cancer risk factors during holidays are stress and unhealthy diet. We have covered the diet factor in a number of previous blogs, and let’s focus on coping stress here.

Holiday realities

The holidays are both a wonderful and stressful time of the year. Besides the usual work load and family commitments, we have new functions or activities, as we rush around trying to meet looming deadlines. Parties and social events, holiday shopping, decorating, trips, holiday meals, going to the new movie releases, entertaining the guests, … see how much we try to cram into the festive season! It gives me a headache just naming all the things.

The key danger of stress

Now imagine doing all that. It’s certainly a recipe for stress. Holiday stress normally falls into categories of financial, physical, psychological/emotional drains. Stress has a negative effect on your health. This is not just a theory. Many studies have found key mechanistic evidence at the cellular level. Chronic stress and/or depression can increase the body production of cytokines, that is, immune-modulating substances. One of them is called interleukin-6 (IL-6). High serum levels of IL-6 have been linked to risks for several adverse conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental health complications, and some cancers.

The relationship between stress and cancer is complex. Many factors may come into play. However, research has demonstrated that stress factors (e.g., the death of a spouse, divorce, social isolation, and medical school examinations) alter some white blood cell functions and promote immune dysfunction.

Additionally, many people who are stressed end up eating, drinking and smoking more but exercising and sleeping less, which would certainly worsen negative consequences for our health. Taken together, stress reduction is of importance for many health reasons.

Anti-stress-1-183748-mWin control over stress with top 8 effective tips:

Since mental stress can translate into negative physical changes in the body, this year I challenge you to have a stress-proof holiday season, and let the joyful spirit of the season boost your immune system! Here is how you achieve that.

1.      Plan ahead based on PBS. The keywords are Prioritize, Be realistic, and Simplify (PBS).

2.      Take it easy. Make the holidays enjoyable rather than perfect. If a card cannot get to its destiny on time, give the person a surprise call on that holiday morning! If you don’t feel like cooking or baking, buy some packaged prepared meals as an alternative, or go without one or two “traditions”. Instead of spending hours in the malls or sitting in the traffic, shop online for gifts to save time and get good deals.

3.      Tap the resources within your family, from neighbors and friends. Do what you enjoy, and make it fun for everyone. If you love decorating trees but hate shopping or dishwashing, trade chores within the family, so everyone picks up their favorite task.

4.      Create a budget within your means to avoid “New Year Depression” on debt. Folk wisdom tells us to shop ahead of time for bargains. However, we all can be creative and spend less, believe it or not. If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy expensive gifts, buy a small one. Everyone appreciates a gift regardless of its size. If it’s too costly to attend a fancy party, organize a new, fun activity to celebrate at home or go to a movie.

5.      Listen to your body and take care of it. If you are tired, acknowledge it; if you need a treat or massage, get it; and if exercises or physical activities make you feel good, go for it.  Also, be sure to get enough sleep.

6.      Practice stress-relieving techniques, particularly those that work for you. Breathe deeply, meditate freely, visualize a peaceful scene, or listen to soothing music. Enjoy some quiet time or “down” time for yourself, especially when you feel over-stressed or under uncomfortable conditions. Caution! Just because the letters in desserts can be used to spell stressed, it doesn’t mean you need to relieve stress with desserts. Avoid over-eating, particularly high sugar and/or high calorie foods.

7.      Laugh, laugh, and laugh! Laughter is an effective medicine.

8.     The holiday season is a time of Family, Friends and Fun! This is perhaps the most important tip of all! Connecting with others for laughter or fun, and love is the best stress-reliever as well as the most effective immune-booster. Please remember, for some, this is a time of loneliness and depression. Invite them to your home; show kindness to them. If you are alone during the holidays, reaching out to help others can benefit your own physical and psychological well-being.

If you like this post, please share it.  Sharing is caring and giving.

Image credit: by brainloc and Allyson

Health: It’s What We Are Most Grateful for Though Often Taken for Granted

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Gratitud for Health_CPDThe annual holiday season is approaching us. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, despite all there is to do to prepare for family festive activities. Yet many people stress out during the holiday season because they focus on what they don’t have or negativities.

But it is much wiser to be thankful.

Have you pondered for a few minutes what you are most grateful for?

I am grateful for many things in my life. One very important thing is my health. Without it, I don’t know if I would enjoy much of anything, even my time with my family and my energy for helping others. Here I share several ways I’m grateful for my health.

I’m grateful for each breath because it’s a gift of life.

I’m grateful for the oxygen I inhale because it’s a feeder/supporter of life.

I’m grateful for the carbon dioxide I exhale because it takes with it anxiety, frustration, and negativity.

I’m grateful for each step I take and each move I make because they are signs of my physical vitality.

I’m grateful for my heart and immune functions because they fight off illnesses from cold or flu to heart disease and cancer.

I’m grateful for my normal aging because I gain more wisdom over the years.

I’m grateful for my laughter because the sound helps lighten stress and bring bliss

I’m also grateful for being able to feel pain because pain could be my body’s alarm about a health concern, as well as an experience shared with many who are suffering.

The list can go on and on…

In reality, feeling and expressing gratitude can foster your happiness and boost your health. So, let your heart and days be filled with the spirit of the season—joy, peace, love, giving, harmony, and gratitude.

Let us spread the spirit of the Holidays!

 

Stay Up-to-date on Lung Cancer Awareness

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Lung cartoon_lung-mdLung cancer is the top cancer killer in the United States and worldwide. Annually, 160,000 Americans die of lung cancer. Globally, about 1.4 million people die from this devastating disease each year.

Researchers predict that lung cancer will continue to be the biggest cancer killer over the next 30 years. The main reason for the increase will be longer life spans—the older you are, the higher your risk of cancer, including lung cancer.

Lung cancer occurs when a lung cell’s gene mutation makes the cell unable to correct DNA damage and unable to undergo programmatic cell death; instead, the abnormal cell continues to grow and divide out of control.

Gene mutations can occur due to a variety of reasons. Most lung cancers are the result of inhaling carcinogenic substances.

Carcinogens are a class of substances that are directly responsible for damaging DNA and promoting cancer. Examples of carcinogens include, but aren’t limited to, tobacco, asbestos, arsenic, radiation such as x-rays, the sun, toxic chemicals in our household products, and compounds in car exhaust fumes. When our bodies are exposed to carcinogens, free radicals are formed, which then damage our cells and affect their ability to function and divide normally.

Tobacco smoking is a well-known leading cause of lung cancer. About 87% of lung cancers are caused by smoking and inhaling the carcinogens from tobacco smoke. Lung cancer risk for a regular smoker is dramatically higher. This also warns us, especially non-smokers, of a health threat, because exposure to second-hand smoke can damage cells and lead to the development of cancer.

To prevent lung cancer, two main rules are to quit smoking if you smoke and avoid passive smoking. These are in your power. They are the most important preventive measures anybody can take.

Lung cancer takes several years to reach a level where symptoms show and the sufferer decides to seek medical help. Although approved screening tests for lung cancer do not exist currently, I have put together a picture of how new technologies are offering hope to fight lung cancer.

Possible lung cancer screening tests include:

  •   analysis of sputum cells
  •   fiber-optic examination of bronchial passages (bronchoscopy)
  •   low-dose CT scans, which have proven effective in screening for lung cancer in high-risk populations.

Other work in progress includes:

  •   detection of circulating cancer cells (identified as “sentinel” cells) by blood test, making early detection and intervention possible.
  •   a breathalyser device that will be able to detect very early signs of cancer, intended to catch patients before they start getting symptoms.
  •   A highly sensitive technology using blood plasma samples that can detect elevated levels of a specific molecule (microRNA molecule) in people with lung cancer through a nanopore sensor.

Furthermore, lung cancer may modify metabolic processes. Research findings reveal that 149 out of 534 metabolites showed significant changes in lung cancer patients. This means that a metabolic profile provides the potential to develop a diagnostic test for lung cancer. Collectively, all of the above approaches to screening will help reduce the enormous burden of lung cancer mortality.

In summary, sad figures, hard facts, key measures, and real hope are all worth reflecting on during Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

 

Image credit: By David Petrovay

Foods to Stop Abdominal Obesity and Inflammation

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Big Belly-and-diet-1349596-mAre you a woman with a waist measurement of over 35 inches or a man with a waist of over 40 inches?

If so, you need to keep reading and engaging in this topic. There is an increasing concern about abdominal obesity, which has been identified as a risk factor of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

How bad is it?

Abdominal obesity, so-called “big tummy”, is the accumulation of excess intra-abdominal fat tissue, which promotes the release of inflammation-causing chemicals and subsequently causes inflammation. On top of that, chronic inflammation is harmful to your body and a root for many chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. So, “big tummy” should not be taken lightly.

Several factors might contribute to increased abdominal fat, including sex hormones, growth hormone, and local production of cortisol, a “stress hormone”. Dietary fructose is involved too. So, you cannot shrink your waist size overnight, and there is no a magic pill for it. However, you can simply start with modifying your diet.

How can you do it?

Is there any food that can improve your belly towards a healthy, active anti-inflammatory way? Yes. Here are the topmost eight approaches you can focus on:

1.      Oily fish: salmon or tuna

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, are not only good proteins but high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. To rip most benefits, eat these fish a few times a week, and cook them in healthy ways, such as grilled or baked, not deep fried, dried or salted.

2.      Healthy fats: olive oil and avocado

Let’s face it. Fat adds delicious taste, but not all fats are created equal. So, sprinkle olive oil and avocado over your salad, or mix them with your dishes.

 3.      High fiber foods: whole grain, oatmeal

A diet study on nearly 90,000 people in 2010 found that those consuming at least 10 grams of fiber daily (especially the kind in whole grains) had waists about three inches smaller than those eating very little fiber.

4.      Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C and lycopene, known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, along with supporting the immune system. Cooked tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones, so does tomato sauce.

5.      Kale and other green leafy vegetables.

Kale is one of the stars among green leafy veggies, which can make up key components in an anti-inflammatory diet. More than forty-five individual flavonoid antioxidants have been identified in kale, including quercetin and kaempferol. Quercetin has been shown to possess a strong anti-inflammatory property. Moreover, kale facilitates the body’s detoxification processes, which are crucial in flushing out inflammatory substances, such as those built up from processed foods.

6.      Nuts and nuts-based fiber bars

Nuts such as almonds and walnuts, are wonderful snacks, and a great source of inflammation-fighting fats and antioxidants. There are so many good things about them — rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and alpha-linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fat).

7.      Low-fructose food: lemon, prune, and cranberries

These fruits contain little fructose. Research findings demonstrate that reduction in fructose improves several risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. In addition, low-fructose diet may be an effective intervention in cancer development.

8.      Spice like garlic, ginger and onions

Garlic and ginger have been used since ancient times, as powerful punches to combat inflammation. Garlic can help ward off a range of chronic illnesses, attributing to its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory nature. Ginger is rich in antioxidants too. Onions are loaded with antioxidants, particularly quercetin. Many people tend to ignore them, but these foods do add an appreciable taste to your dishes.

Overall, diet can play an important role in lowering the risk of various cancers, and in reducing the hazard of chronic inflammation. A diet with the above beneficial foods helps shrink your waist size; in the long run, it can boost your anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer force.

What else can you do to speed up the progress?

Regular exercises, drinking more water or tea instead of coca and sweet beverages, reducing stress level, and a good night sleep as well, can all add up to burn your abdominal fat.

 

Image credit: By julosstock

Daily Risks for Breast Cancer: Everybody Can Do Something

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Pink_breast cancer awareWhat do you do in Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What do you do in a year for breast cancer prevention?

Unless you have a well-defined plan, here is food for thought.

In addition to wearing pink or a pink ribbon, campaigning to raise funds and getting a mammogram, there are essential things that everybody can do in this month and year round.

Why everybody? Because both men and women can get breast cancer, and because you care about your loved ones.

First of all, the key to fighting breast cancer is to catch it early. The cancer is most treatable at an early stage.

Then the best cure is prevention. Surely, you cannot control certain risk factors such as family history and/or genetics. However, do you know – about 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer? This means that DNA mutation can occur over one’s lifetime, and that’s why lowering your risk for breast cancer is critical.

So what are five most common daily risks for breast cancer?

  1. Smoke
  2. Alcohol
  3. Junk foods (processed foods, food low in nutrients but high in fat, sugar and salt)
  4. Physical inactivity
  5. Environmental pollutants and toxins

Everybody can relate to these health hazards, right? Be aware, some of them are hidden. Of course, there are other risk factors for breast cancer, including hormone therapy, radiation exposure, aging, and sleeping pattern (night shift).

I want to stress that it’s not one single factor that plays a measurable role in causing any cancer. Multiple or combined factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. For instance, when combined with genetic factors, alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking enhance a risk for breast cancer and several other cancers as well. Furthermore, each cancer is different; no two people have the exactly same cancer.

Next, how to reduce breast cancer risk?

Breast cancer prevention starts with a healthy lifestyle, such as stopping tobacco use, limiting alcohol consumption, getting a nutritious diet, staying physically active, keeping a healthy weight, and avoiding environmental toxins if you can.

Lifestyle modification is often most effective and goes a long way. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Live a healthy lifestyle by starting with small, simple steps on a daily basis. Just consider food. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially a low-fat diet have been shown to offer protection from breast cancer. Plus, eating healthy can help you maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk for several other types of cancer.

Regular physical activities also offer you some protection. Research has demonstrated that women who exercised vigorously or moderately were significantly less risky to get breast cancer compared with non-exercisers.

In summary, focus on what you can do to lower your cancer risk. If you’re at an increased risk, breast cancer can be closely monitored with advanced technology and with help of your physician(s).