Sunday, May 26, 2013

Foods for Cancer Prevention

Eating well can lower your chance of developing cancer. In fact, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention are similar to those for preventing other diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Here are some general guidelines to help reduce your cancer risk with diet: 

Keep a Healthy Weight- Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight. Being overweight or obese is related to as many as one in five cancer-related deaths. Exactly how weight affects cancer risk is unclear. Weight is most closely connected with cancers of the breast and uterus in postmenopausal women. Other cancers associated with obesity include thyroid, gall bladder, esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, breasts (after menopause) & the kidneys.

Limit Calorie-Dense, Nutrient-Deficient Foods- Reduce your intake of foods with added sugars and fats that provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. Calories add up fast with calorie-dense foods, which can lead to weight gain and leaves little room for more healthful, cancer-preventive foods. 

Eat Vegetables, Fruits, Whole Grains and Legumes- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including beans, is linked with a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and colon cancer. At this point, it’s not clear which components in vegetables and fruits are most protective against cancer. So enjoy a variety of whole foods naturally-rich in nutrients. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables and at least half your grains whole grains. Beans and peas may be counted as part of the Protein Foods Group or as a vegetable. Also, eating a diet rich in these plant-based foods can help you stay at a healthy weight. 

Moderate Your Meat Portions- No consistent evidence links protein intake to increased or lowered risk of most cancers. Some studies suggest a link between colon cancer and eating large amounts of red meat, especially processed meat such as ham, bacon and hot dogs, but this research is inconclusive. Your best bet is to enjoy protein in moderation. Consider filling your plate with beans, grains and vegetables.

Limit Alcohol- Evidence suggests all types of alcoholic drinks may increase your risk of a number of cancers, including cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast and colon. It’s unclear exactly how alcohol affects cancer risk. It is considered more harmful when combined with smoking. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.

Consume Less Salt- In cultures where people eat a lot of salt-preserved foods, salt-cured and salt-pickled food, the risk for stomach, nasopharyngeal and throat cancers may be higher. Although no evidence suggests that the amounts of salt used in cooking or flavoring foods affect cancer risk, it is known to raise the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, which is why reducing sodium intake is recommended.

Most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods, rather than salt we add as a seasoning. Read food labels to learn exactly how much sodium is a product. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 tsp of salt). Adults age 51 & older, African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should further reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.

What about Supplements? Whole foods are your best bet for reducing your risk of cancer, not supplements. Research suggests the synergy between nutrients found naturally in foods offers a protective effect. The best sources of nutrients for cancer prevention are nutrient-rich whole foods and healthful beverages.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cancer Signs that Females Shouldn't Ignore!

signs of cancer
Difficulty in Swallowing
If you have difficulty swallowing, you may have already changed your diet so chewing isn't so difficult, perhaps turning to soups or liquid foods such as protein shakes. But that difficulty could be a sign of a GI cancer.

Unexplained Weight Loss
Many women would be delighted to lose weight without trying. But unexplained weight loss -- say 10 pounds in a month without an increase in exercise or a decrease in food intake -- should be checked out.

Skin Changes
Most of us know to look for any changes in moles -- a well-known sign of skin cancer. But we should also watch for changes in skin pigmentation. If you suddenly develop bleeding on your skin or excessive scaling, that should be checked.

If you have a fever that isn't explained by influenza or other infection, it could point to cancer. Fevers more often occur after cancer has spread from its original site, but it can also point to early blood cancers such as Leukemia, according to the American Cancer Society. Other cancer symptoms can include jaundice, or a change in the color of your stool.

cancer signs in womenFatigue is another vague symptom that could point to cancer -- as well as a host of other problems. It can set in after the cancer has grown, but it may also occur early in certain cancers, such as leukemia or with some colon or stomach cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.

Persistent Cough
Coughs are expected with colds, the flu, allergies, and sometimes are a side effect of medications. But a very prolonged cough -- defined as lasting more than three or four weeks -- should not be ignored.

Bloating (Abnormal general swelling/increase in diameter of the abdominal area)

Bloating is so common that many women just live with it. But it could point to ovarian cancer. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal pain or pelvic pain, feeling full quickly -- even when you haven't eaten much -- and urinary problems, such as having an urgent need to go to the bathroom. If the bloating occurs almost every day and persists for more than a few weeks, you should consult your physician.

As people age they seem to complain more of various aches and pains, but pain, as vague as it may be, can also be an early symptom of some cancers, although most pain complaints are not from cancer.

Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression Any woman who's got a pain in the abdomen and is feeling depressed needs a check-up. Some researchers have found a link between depression and Pancreatic Cancer, but it's a poorly understood connection.

Women who have been pregnant may remember the indigestion that occurred as they gained weight. But indigestion for no apparent reason may be a red flag. It could be an early clue to cancer of the stomach or throat.

Mouth Changes
Smokers should be especially alert for any white patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue, according to the American Cancer Society. Both can point to a precancerous condition called leukoplakia that can progress to oral cancer.

Changes in the Lymph Nodes
If you notice a lump or swelling in the lymph nodes under your armpit or in your neck -- or anywhere else -- it could be worrisome.

Breast Changes
Most women know their breasts well, even if they don't do regular self-exams, and know to be on the lookout for lumps. But that's not the only breast symptom that could point to cancer. Redness and thickening of the skin on the breast, which could indicate a very rare but aggressive form of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, also needs to be examined.

Between-Period Bleeding or Other Unusual Bleeding
''Premenopausal women tend to ignore between-period bleeding,". They also tend to ignore bleeding from the GI tract (Stomach & Intestine), mistakenly thinking it is from their period. But between-period bleeding, especially if you are typically regular, bears checking out, she says. So does bleeding after menopause, as it could be a symptom of endometrial cancer. GI bleeding could be a symptom of colorectal cancer.

Blood in the Wrong Place
If you notice unexpected blood in your urine or your stool. It could be colon cancer. Blood during unusual days is something very alarming.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vitamin C Can Help Prevent Cancer!

Source of Vitamin C
Best Sources of Vitamin C
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin the human body needs to function well. It cannot be made by the body, and must be obtained from foods or other sources. Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and in green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, red & green peppers. Many studies have shown a link between eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, and a reduced risk of cancer.

According to The Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the RDA of vitamin C should be 200 mg/day in an adult diet. The higher levels of vitamin C help prevent scurvy & reduce cases of the heart disease and cancer. Research studies in mice suggest that vitamin C can indeed inhibit the growth of some tumors.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps block the action of free radicals, which can damage cells. This vitamin is said to enhance the immune system by stimulating the activities of white blood cells and anti-cancer agents. Some claim that the vitamin can prevent a variety of cancers from developing, including lung, prostate, bladder, breast, cervical, intestinal, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and salivary gland cancers, as well as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Source of Vitamin C
Foods Rich in Vitamin C can Help Prevent Cancer

Vitamin C is also said to prevent tumors from spreading, help the body heal after cancer surgery, enhance the effects of certain anti-cancer drugs, and reduce the toxic effects of other drugs used in chemotherapy. However, no randomized clinical trials have yet been done in humans to test the effect of Vitamin C supplements during radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Many of these studies show people who eat foods to get a high level of vitamin C have about half as much cancer as those who have a low intake of these foods. The daily diet of an adult must include 5-9 daily servings of fruits and raw/ steam-cooked vegetables, with 6 ounce glass of orange juice. This would provide 200 mg of vitamin C daily. 

The intake of vitamin C on a daily basis poses no risk, but there is strong evidence that it would provide multiple & substantial health benefits.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yerba mate Tea Prevents Cancer!

Yerba Mate tea for Cancer PRevention
Yerba mate tea has long been considered a medicinal brew in South America, and is the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Brewed from the leaves of a small tree, native to the subtropical highlands of South America, Yerba mate contains 24 vitamins and minerals, along with essential amino acids and powerful antioxidants. Tribes in the South American rainforest have consumed yerba mate for centuries for its rejuvenating effects, enjoying its ability to boost energy as well as enhancing clarity and focus. 

Recent studies  have revealed that drinking yerba mate tea may be an inexpensive and efficient way of fighting colon cancer. In a study performed at the University of Illinois, researchers were able to demonstrate that human colon cancer cells died when exposed to bioactive compounds similar to those found in a cup of yerba mate tea.

Yerba Mate tea for Cancer PRevention
As part of the University of Illinois study, researchers treated human colon cancer cells with caffeoylquinic acid (CQA) derivatives from Yerba mate tea, gradually increasing the concentration. As the concentrations were increased, the cancer cells began to die as a result of apoptosis, which occurs when the DNA of the cancer cell is damaged, causing the cell to self-destruct.

These results show promise in treating many different types of cancer, with an even better likelihood of treating colon cancer as the colon plays a significant role in absorbing caffeine-related compounds. In addition to inducing apoptosis in cancer cells, the caffeine derivatives also reduced inflammation. Since inflammation can trigger the progression of cancer, the ability to reduce it provides yet another benefit to be gained from drinking yerba mate tea.

Yerba mate tea contains caffeine in similar amounts to coffee, but has much less acidity and is therefore less likely to cause stomach irritation. Yerba mate tea bags are widely available in health food stores and in many grocery stores as well. It can be prepared a variety of ways, and served either hot or cold. When you combine the recently discovered cancer fighting properties along with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids contained within, yerba mate may just prove to be to be a healthy alternative to coffee.

Though this study is very new, it is promising. Not only does it prove the health benefits of yerba mate tea, it highlights major cancer fighting benefits. Researchers plan to use the results of this study to further explore the effects of this tea with other cancers and hopefully find a way to help increase the life span of the patients and find a cure.

Our Guest Blogger, Ms. Allie Brooks has earned a degree in Biomedical Anthropology. Allie is currently studying in the field of Ethnography on the 'Effects of Biomedicalization on Bolivian Cultures'. She has keen interest in Nutrition and Natural therapies. Allie may be contacted via

Can Beetroots Beat Cancer?

Beet can Fight Cancer
Beets can Cure Cancer!
Beetroots have proven therapeutic in the treatment of leukaemia and cancer. These are also considered beneficial for detoxifying the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, blood and the lymph. The red color of beets is due to the presence of a group of phytonutrients called Betalains. These are antioxidant & anti-inflammatory  agents that help fight against cancer. Betacyanin, another purple-crimson pigment found in beetroot is said to be a powerful anti-tumorigenic agent. An amino acid called, Betaine, found in beets has also proved to be effective against cancer. 

Research shows that beet juice can treat leukemia and tends to inhibit the development of colon and stomach cancer. Several studies demonstrate beet juice to be a potent inhibitor of cell mutations caused by carcinogens such as Nitrosamines (used as a chemical preservative in processed meat) in cases of stomach cancer. Beets are a rich source of vitamin Cfolatemanganesemagnesiumpotassium fiber.

Beet can Fight CancerThe fruit is good for bones, and supports gastrointestinal health. A glass of beet juice is also beneficial for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Remember not to take beet juice alone as it is very concentrated. It should be taken in combination with carrot, apple or cucumber juice. Drinking a glass of beet juice daily is good for overall health.

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