I was fortunate to attend a lecture in Boise recently called, "Living the Anti-Cancer Life" given by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen of MD Anderson's Integretive Medicine department. It was a great lecture that started with the different causes of cancer, how cancer is on the rise (especially in developed countries like the U.S.), and then ways to reduce our risk of cancer.
It was fascinating to learn how cancer is becoming an epidemic in countries like the U.S., where we have modern medicine! However, I whole-heartedly agree with Dr. Cohen that is a consequence of living in a Western society, where we have fast food and processed foods a plenty, and where our farming has become more corrupt with pesticides and other harmful substances, as well as, GMO's. Our rising incidence of cancer is a direct effect of our environment too--living in cities with pollution and breathing in toxic chemicals.
I will admit, it makes you a little more anxious and overwhelmed hearing and learning this kind of information because you realize you can't control 100% of your environment. BUT you can control many of the choices you make each day regarding food and what we put into our bodies, which will in turn, reduce your risk of getting cancer greatly.
This was the part of the lecture that I particularly enjoyed because I love healthy eating and empowering myself with the knowledge of how to make my body healthier. Many of the things that Dr. Cohen spoke about, I already knew, but it was a nice refresher!
Here are some key points that I came away when it comes to our nutrition:
1. Eat organic as much as possible. This includes meat and dairy as well.
2. Your plate or diet should consist of at least 50% fruit and vegetables including lots of leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, and kale. 25% of your plate should come from whole grains, and the remaining 25% should consist of 10% animal proteins and 15% healthy fats.
3. Vitamin D3 is an important vitamin and one you don't want to be deficient in. Deficient Vitamin D levels can lead to diseases like cancer, and having sufficient Vitamin D levels can help improve the overall immune system greatly. You should have your Vitamin D checked once a year.
4. Sugar is the enemy. Refined sugar, that is. Several studies and research have led to the fact that sugar leads to all sorts of diseases, like cancer, and that sugar in our diet may by one of the main culprits in developing cancer.
5. Stress is also a huge contributor to disease, like cancer. Maintaining low stress levels is healthy for the immune system and prevents cell death. We can reduce our stress greatly by several different activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, physical exercise, getting adequate sleep, and social interactions.
There were many other interesting facts and tidbits, but this is the jist!