October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer awareness and prevention should always be on our mind these days. Cancer prevention is defined as active measures you can take to decrease your likelihood of cancer. Since many cancer risk factors are environmental or lifestyle-related you can empower yourself by becoming proactive on a daily basis.
Studies show that there are many factors related to increased risk of cancers that we cannot control like aging and genetics. Yet there are many active measures that can help decrease our risks like stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption, use sun protection, lead a healthier lifestyle, maintain a healthy body weight, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Remember that you are what you eat. Becoming more aware of your diet and the time you devote to fitness are two of the most powerful active measures you can take. A balanced diet will not only boost your immune system but give you the necessary energy needed to increase your physical activity and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Your body’s main defense against cancer is your immune system. Studies show that keeping blood sugar levels within the normal range may reduce the risk of cancer. Diets high in sugar and carbohydrates, increase blood sugar and elevate insulin. Elevated insulin levels suppress your immune system by stimulating the production of the “bad” eicosanoid hormone, PGE2. This hormone inhibits the activation of natural killer cells and decreases oxygen transfer. But a balanced diet with low-fat protein, high-fiber carbohydrates, and healthy fat can help stabilize blood sugar and control insulin, minimizing the production of PGE2.
Always choose organic protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and especially fats whenever possible to avoiding unnecessary hormones, pesticides and chemicals. Nutrient dense, balanced meals supply higher amounts of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. These are powerful disease fighting, immune boosting nutrients that also help protect cells from damage that can lead to certain cancers.
Drinking plenty of pure water, one of the six essential nutrients, is often forgotten in our quest for better health and cancer prevention. Water stimulates the immune system, removes waste and toxins and transports nutrients to every cell and organ.
When you make health a priority, you make a lifelong commitment to balanced nutrition and daily activity. If you want to take control of your health but need a little education and motivation, pick up a copy of our book, The Formula, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program. We provide you with the information that is easy to understand and apply to everyday life. You can begin to eat balanced, healthy meals in place of fast food, fried foods and junk food. A balanced diet will give you the energy needed to lead an active lifestyle.
And of course, make exercise a priority. Include a variety of activities that last at least 30 to 60 minutes, five days per week or more. Incorporate strength training to build stronger muscles, cardiovascular training for a stronger heart and stretching for greater flexibility and mobility. Exercise helps reduce body fat by increasing your metabolic rate and burning calories.
Try these proactive measures to help achieve all of your health and wellness goals and make cancer awareness a daily action that produces big rewards.
*Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program