Research shows that 60-70% of all cancers are linked to our daily lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking and exercise.
What we decide to eat and our weight is statistically just as important a risk factor as whether we smoke or not – both contribute to an elevated risk rating of approximately 30% each, according to findings by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Many people may be surprised to hear that an unhealthy diet and being overweight are significantly linked to cancer.
EAT THE RIGHT KIND OF FAT AND PROTEIN
The National Academy of Science (NAS) found clear evidence of the link between saturated animal fat and cancer, particularly in breast and colon cancers. Animal fat may also increase the risk of lung, colorectal and prostate cancer. Most red meat and cheeses contain a high percentage of saturated fat, up to 90%, and should be restricted to a few servings a week.
There is evidence to show the vegetarian protein reduces cancer risks, as well as other chronic, degenerative diseases. This may be due in part to the fact that vegetarians tend to eat more legumes, and coloured beans particularly – such as azuki beans, red kidney beans, pinto and black beans – are extremely high in antioxidants and contain fibre.
Studies have also shown that a vegetarian’s blood levels contain a third less oestrogen than non-vegetarians. This may also help to explain the clearer link seen by NAS between breast cancer and animal protein, than any of the other cancers. It is therefore advisable for us not to rely too heavily on animal protein to meet our all protein requirements, but include a variety of combined vegetarian sources such as nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
Fish is high in Omega-3 fats which are cancer-protective and is anti-inflammatory (saturated animal fat is pro-inflammatory). Inflammation is a known contributing factor in many chronic diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular disease. Avoid large fish which tend to have higher mercury levels and concentrate on eating fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, light tuna and bass a few times a week.
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