November, you are my favorite month of the year. Right before your drifting whirls, was the warm hush of October; the month which gives awareness to women’s breast cancer. But, since ladies do come first after all; November is for the movement of men, also known as Movember.
Movember (Mo from Moustache, and November) encourages men to be more involved in trying to detect early cancer symptoms, diagnosis and effective treatments. By doing so, we ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Movember revolves around men growing their moustaches to show support for this annual movement, but it is not only a cancer awareness event, it also raises awareness of men’s health issues, such as depression and prostate cancer. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), over 500,000 people die of cancer yearly, 29,000 of them of prostate cancer alone. With early detection however, we can potentially save half a million lives, yearly.
Another important strategy to follow this month is to clean up your diet and move more. There are some foods that researchers are finding very useful in preventing and fighting cancer. It is suggested that one cause of cancer is caused from inflammation of the body, fueled by highly inflammatory food, such as: white flour, corn, soy, refined sugar, deli meats, soft drinks, genetically modified food, canned goods, farmed fish and hydrogenated oils. After you have cleaned up your diet from inflammatory food, it is time to follow an anti-cancer diet. Here are some foods that will increase your immunity and are proven to fight cancer:
1- Garlic: Several studies have shown that those who eat more garlic are less likely to develop various kinds of cancers, especially in the esophagus, stomach and colon.
2- Berries: The powerful antioxidants in berries can stop free radicals from occurring and therefore, reversing the damage in the cells.
3- Tomatoes: Lycopene, which is an antioxidant found in tomatoes help guard the DNA in the cells from damage that can lead to cancer. The body absorbs the lycopene better when the tomatoes are cooked then raw, so start by adding tomato sauce to your meals!
4- Cruciferous and green leafy vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and cauliflower are helpful in protecting one from cancer. Beta-carotene and lutein which are antioxidants found in these vegetables, shield you from cancer-causing chemicals and they help in slowing the growth of tumors.
5- Green tea: Catechins are antioxidants in tea and they help keeping free radicals from damaging cells. One to two cups daily for breakfast or after lunch is ideal to increase ones immunity. However, do not mix green tea with food because it decreases the absorption of iron.
6- Turmeric: My drug of choice. Whether it’s a migraine, flu or even cancer; turmeric helps in preventing and fighting off cancer. Curcumin, the ingredient found in turmeric, helps the body to fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage.
7- Grapes: Red grapes contain a rich source of antioxidants called resveratrol. Resveratrol’s, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties are thought to extend to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
8- Carrots: Research in China has already shown that carrots, best known for supposedly helping us to see in the dark, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by a fifth.
9- Coconut water/coconut oil: Coconut water and coconut oil are one of the new trends in Kuwait, and I am personally a huge advocate on coconut for its amazing benefits which are antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial; all which prevent cancer from forming.
10- Bone broth/stock: I saved the best for last. Bone broth is needed for our gut which helps in rebuilding it, especially after chemotherapy sessions. Bone broths have a lot of great nutrition as well (like dissolved minerals from the bones and nutrients from marrow) that is very easily digested and absorbed.
In general, always try choosing organic options and avoid genetically modified food. With the above 10 anti-inflammatory foods, your health can jump-start its way into preventing cancer and leading a healthy, happy life.
Not all health problems are avoidable, but nowadays, with ever increasing scientific research, we have more control over our health. Research shows that a large percentage of cancer-related deaths are directly linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, a lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet. To prevent cancer, one should avoid cigarettes and alcohol, reach a healthy weight, and get regular exercise. November is a great month to start getting into a healthy lifestyle, including reviewing your eating habits. What you eat—and don’t eat—have a powerful effect on your health and the risk of cancer. Without knowing it, you may be eating many foods that fuel cancer, while neglecting the powerful foods and nutrients that can protect you.
Dear gentlemen, if you wish to participate in Movember, please consider changing your eating habits, and while you’re at it, consider growing a moustache to support this movement. And ladies, please try not to grow a moustache, just stick with the pink ribbon for now.
Natalie Mekahal is a personal shopper and natural and organic healthy lifestyle guru. You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook @WholeStyle.Me or email [email protected]