According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. It comes second only to heart diseases.
The most prevalent types of cancer include lung, colorectal, stomach, and breast. They are the leading causes of death as well.
Reading these facts can make anyone feel worried about getting cancer. But even if this disease is already widespread and cases seem to increase annually, the good news is that you can reduce your risk of getting it.
Medical specialists from leading oncology hospitals in the UAE enumerate below six simple and doable tips that can help you lower your risk of cancer:
1. Stop smoking or using tobacco products
Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer and cause of cancer death.
Smoking and using tobacco products are the leading causes of lung cancer. Research shows that the harmful chemicals from cigarettes and tobacco damage DNA in the body.
These chemicals also affect the body’s capability to get rid of toxins. The build-up of contaminants can damage cells that can lead to cancer.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting these unhealthy habits can reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Studies show that you can cut your risk of lung cancer by 30 to 50 percent after 10 years when you quit smoking.
Moreover, you reduce your risk of developing cancer of the mouth and oesophagus in half within five years after quitting.
Regardless of your age and how long you have been smoking, you can also improve your overall health once you kick this unhealthy habit. This is because tobacco use and smoke inhalation has been associated with oral, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervical cancer.
2. Reduce your alcohol intake
Another unhealthy habit you have to quit is drinking too much alcohol.
Alcohol can cause cancer in various ways. It can irritate and damage the cell and prevent the body from absorbing folate, a key nutrient that helps you stay healthy.
Additionally, drinking too much alcohol regularly can increase a woman’s oestrogen levels, which can put them at higher risk of breast cancer. The extra calories from such beverages can also contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
When a person is overweight or obese, they are more at risk of getting cancer.
Mouth, larynx, liver, and colorectal cancer are some of the diseases that have been linked to the overconsumption of alcohol.
Avoiding alcohol is the best option to prevent the onset of cancer and improve your health. If you can’t quit cold turkey or you want to drink an alcoholic beverage occasionally, limit yourself to two drinks a day if you are a man and one a day if you are a woman.
3. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins
A study shows that adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet can lower your risk of various diseases, including cancer.
Eating around 600 grams of cruciferous and green-yellow vegetables per day reduces your risk of getting cancer by about 13 percent.
Nuts, seeds, tofu, soy, tempeh, and pulses are plant proteins that can protect you from different illnesses, including cancer. Examples of pulses are chickpeas, black and kidney beans, lentils, and split peas.
Fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins are rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that strengthen your immune system and support and improve different body functions.
Aim to eat these foods fresh or cooked through healthy methods, such as steaming or baking. Avoid consuming them deep-fried or chargrilled since they strip the fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins of their nutrients.
4.Reduce your intake of salt, sugars, and unhealthy fats
Eating too many chips, candies, sweet pastries and desserts, and drinking high-sugar beverages, such as sodas and milkshakes, can cause obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, they can increase your risk of cancer, too.
Aside from having high sodium and sugar content, these foods are rich in empty calories. Moreover, they make you feel so full that you may not want to eat more nutritious fare.
As a result, you will prevent your body from getting the right levels of cancer-preventive nutrients.
Eating too many fatty foods also contribute to an increase in the likelihood of getting cancer. One research showed that a high intake of saturated and other unhealthy fats was associated with a greater risk of lung cancer.
If you are craving something salty or sweet, opt for natural snacks, such as fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds. These foods will satisfy those cravings and give your body more nutrients.
Another healthier option is indulging in organically flavoured snacks and other food products.
5. Minimise your consumption of red and processed meats
Various studies show that eating lots of red and processed meat can increase your risk of stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer.
Processed meats contain harmful chemicals, such as nitrates and nitrites, which damage the cells. Because of this, eating such foods frequently and in huge amounts can put you at higher risk of getting cancer.
Red meats, on the other hand, have haem, heterocyclic amines or HCAs, and polycyclic amines or PCAs, chemicals that are produced or released when the proteins are cooked at high temperatures. They also damage the cells and put you at greater risk of cancer.
To establish a healthier diet and to keep cancer at bay, eat more fruits, vegetables, plant proteins, and lean meats, such as fish and poultry.
6. Be more active
Finally, having an active lifestyle allows you to enjoy better health. It also lowers your risk of different types of cancer, including breast, colon, kidney, lung, and prostate.
Additionally, by having a workout routine, you can reduce stress, boost your energy and immune system, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
To get the most from working out, get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of high-intensity exercise every week. You can also combine both types in your weekly workout routine.
Some simple exercises you can include in your daily routine are brisk walking, cycling, gardening, and doing household chores.
If you have any ailment, you will do well to consult your doctor first to find out which physical activities or exercises you can do safely without aggravating your condition.
Undergoing annual check-ups and cancer screening exams can also help you avoid this dreaded disease. See your doctor regularly for proper diagnosis and to get more tips to stay cancer-free.