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Cancer Fighting Foods

Cancer Fighting Foods

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. In fact, it is responsible for 30% of all total deaths in our country. It is estimated that 2 out of 5 Canadians are expected to develop some form of cancer in their lifetimes, and 1 out of 4 of those diagnosed will die from it.

With those grim figures in mind, it is no surprise that most of us are on the constant look-out for ways to protect ourselves from the disease. Perhaps the best defence, however, is quite simply to live healthy, active lives, and there’s no better place to start than your diet. Although not a magical cure for cancer, certain food items have cancer-fighting properties. Including these in your diet, coupled with regular exercise, are sure-fire ways to decrease your risk of cancer.

A predominantly plant-based diet is ideal for warding off cancer. Meals should contain at least 2/3rd plant type foods. Amongst other health benefits, this ensures a diet low in saturated fats.

Folate-rich foods

There is a correlation between levels of folate in the body and the chances of DNA mutation. Eating folate-rich foods such as cereals, oranges and spinach may decrease your risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 50%.

Source foods

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Orange
  • Spinach
  • Romaine leaves
  • Dried beans
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts

Tea

Teas contain antioxidants called flavonoids. Once such flavonoid called kaempferol has been shown to work well against cancer. Women in a study who increased their kaempferol intake showed a lower rate of ovarian cancer, and post-menopausal women had a decreased risk of breast cancer.

The recommended dose for this antioxidant to work well against cancer is an about 10-12 milligrams daily or approximately 4 cups of tea.

Source foods

  • Various types of teas

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been known to cut the risks of breast cancer by half. It works by curbing the growth of cancerous cells in the body. It is recommended that an adult should receive a minimum daily dose of 1000 IU of vitamin D.

Source foods

  • Sunshine
  • Milk
  • Cod
  • Shrimp
  • Chinook salmon
  • Eggs

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage and Brussel sprouts have all been shown to help with the prevention of prostate and colon cancer. It is important to note however that studies have shown that these health benefits are activated only by chewing or cutting the vegetables.

Source foods

  • Kale
  • Turnip greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts

Curcumin

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are its essential trait for fighting cancer. Recent studies have shown that curcumin suppresses the transformation and invasion of cancer cells, by disrupting cell-signalling pathways in the body. Its benefits have been shown to be effective against bladder and gastrointestinal cancer.

Source foods

  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder

How to tell if a mole is cancerous

skin-cancer-mole-womens-healthAlmost everyone has moles on their body. While a majority of them are harmless, some can be deadly. A normal or benign mole is often evenly colored, round or oval in shape, about ¼ inch in diameter and can either be flat or raised. Some moles are present at birth, but the majority appear during childhood. New moles that show up on adults should be examined closely as they could be a sign of melanoma.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and can develop anywhere in the body that has pigments. It is however curable if diagnosed in its early stages. Certain factors may significantly increase your risk of skin cancer, such as chronic sun exposure, severe sunburn as a child, a family history of the disease or by simply having fair skin.

How do you to tell if a mole is cancerous?

One of the best way to tell if a mole is cancerous is by the way it looks. Aside from the sudden appearance of a mole a change in shape, size or color of an existing one is the most probable sign of melanoma.

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Dermatologists recommend using the ABCDE method to identify possible signs of the disease during your routine screening. It determines if mole is cancerous by using the following characteristics as indicators:

  • A = Asymmetry: One side of the spot is very different from the other.
  • B = Border: The spot has irregular edges. Either notched or blurred.
  • C = Color: If the color is inconsistent throughout the spot.
  • D = Diameter: If the spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser or ¼ inch.
  • E = Evolving: Is it changing in size, shape or color.

Not all melanomas fit the descriptions above, so if you have any doubts about a spot on your body it is best to consult your doctor right away.

To help decrease your risks of getting melanoma you should limit your exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen when possible. Since early detection is key to prevention, regularly screening your body for irregular spots is very important and may even save your life.