How often do you worry about cancer? Probably not too much… After all, you’re young. But did you know it’s the leading cause of disease-related death among young adults?
The recommended age a person should get her first colonoscopy (to screen for colon cancer) is 50; similarly, women are recommended to start opting for an annual mammogram (to test for breast cancer) anywhere from 40-45 years old. Despite these sanctions, nearly 70,000 people between the ages of 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer annually in the US. If the widespread thought is to wait to start cancer screenings until mid-life, how can young adults be expected to avoid and also decrease these statistics?
Some of the most common cancers among young adults include breast, cervical, colorectal, melanoma, and leukemia. So what’s one thing can you do to fight against the prospect of developing cancer? You can eat mindfully.
Check out these 7 superfoods that work to not only rid the body of toxins, but also to prevent and fight against the development and spread of cancer.
This orange vegetable is chock-full of carotene, which is a hydrocarbon that only plants can provide. A recent study shows that snacking on carrots can reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 60%.
Walnuts are key to breast cancer prevention, as the phytosterols—a molecule found in plants—actually cut off the estrogen receptors of breast cancer cells. When you cut off receptors, tumors are unable to grow. Reap the benefits of walnuts by snacking on an ounce daily.
In order to take up arms against malignant cells, eat foods categorized as “pulses.” Pulses are legume seeds that make protein from the natural amounts of nitrogen in the air. Foods considered pulses include kidney beans, black beans, yellow split peas, and red lentils. These pulses contain other substances that battle cancer: lignans, saponins, resistant starch, and antioxidants.
The vampire’s arch nemesis is essential to impeding the growth and formation of carcinogens in the stomach and intestines. The phytochemicals help to fight breast, esophageal, stomach, intestine, and colon cancers. High garlic intake lowers a woman’s risk of colon cancer by 50%.
The cabbage family is well-known for its anti-cancer properties, like the compound sulforaphane, found in broccoli. Sulforaphane not only causes an increase in enzymes that fight against nefarious chemicals, but also specifically target stem cells. Add an extra spoonful of broccoli to your plate at dinnertime to help battle cancers such as breast, liver, stomach, and bladder.
Lycopene provides tomatoes with their famous red coloring, but it also has magical properties within the anti-cancer arena. The carotenoid actually terminates the growth of endometrial cancer cells in the mucus membrane of the uterus. Ladies, start cutting up some ’maters because endometrial cancer accounts for 8,000 deaths per year.
In the context of cancer prevention, phytonutrients are your best friend, which is why many of the superfoods that combat cancer development are plant-based. Black raspberries in particular contain phytochemicals that specifically decelerate the growth of precancerous cells. Snack on berries to avoid cancers of the colon, esophagus, mouth, and skin origins.
In addition to frequent consumption of the above cancer-fighting superfoods, it is important to note that excessive meat intake (especially highly-processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, and bacon) is associated with an increased risk (by 44%) of developing cancer. Women should also stay away from too much alcohol consumption, as alcohol is the second leading cause of cancer just behind tobacco.