Sunday, March 24, 2013

Does Everything Cause Cancer?

Single Ribbon PinkI used to be terrified of the "C" word.  I'd feel a tightening in my stomach anytime the subject even came up.  Even worse than that was the sense of helplessness and uncertainty of Will I get cancer too?  What causes cancer?  Is there anything I can be doing to prevent getting it?

I'm not claiming to be a cancer expert, however as someone who has spent a great deal of time researching how food affects our health, I believe I have a basic idea of what cause cancer as well as what can help prevent it.  I can tell you this much... I'm not scared any more.

Within a few years cancer is expected to surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the USA, according to the American Hospital Association.

With the current health trend 1 in every 2 men will get cancer, and of those half with die from it.  For women 1 in 3 women are being diagnosed with cancer, and about 2/3 of those will die from it.  Scary numbers to say the least.

To understand why certain foods, drinks and lifestyles cause cancer, we first have to have a basic understanding of how cancer starts and why it starts growing in a person.

In my own words, and from what I have researched, cancer is caused my an imbalance being created in our bodies at the cellular level.  Basically toxins or inflammation cause the imbalance and our body reacts.

blood cellsCancer occurs when a cell beings to reproduce for no particular reason.  The "daughter" cells that it produces begin to form a lump.  Often, a cell from this tumor spreads to another part of
the body and starts reproducing there.  
Sooner or later this abnormal tissue interferes with the body's ability to perform its specific functions, resulting in illness and eventually death.*

 Approximately 30 years ago the World Health Organization declared that up to 90% of all cancers were caused by pesticides, radiation, and other toxic chemicals in our environment.*  

 Free radicals occur when an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive.  In human and animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells are are believed to accelerate the  progression of cancer, cardio vascular disease, and age related diseases.  
In terms of prevention, the conditions under which cancer cells lose their virulence and ability to become a tumor are when the immune system is strong enough to mobilize against the cancer cells, there is no inflammation that enables cancer cells to grow and spread, and when blood vessels cancer cells feed on cannot reproduce and provide cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients.*

Hair care 3These kind of pollutants, or toxins, come into our bodies through all the chemicals we have started using in our modern society.  They come in our couches, carpeting, car exhaust fumes, paint fumes, bug sprays, sun screen, air pollution, shampoo, make up, water contaminants, in our food, and more.  They can create "free radicals" that our body then has to defend itself from.

That's were the feeling that everything causes cancer can come into play.  We have taken a healthy world and made it toxic to live in.

Don't throw in the towel yet though, there is hope!  There is so much we can easily do to clean up most of what is around and in us, to reduce our chance of getting cancer.

Here are some of the basics of reducing your risk of getting cancer:

Keep as many toxins as possible out of your body.

Letting toxins in is like playing Russian Roulette.  Your body may be able to clean them out, or at least tolerate them, or they can build up and cause problems that can make you sick or kill you.

MicrowaveAvoid heating plastic or leaving it out in the sun.  Any time any kind of plastic is heated up it releases the chemicals the plastic is made of into your food.  Then those chemicals can cause an imbalance in your body by going into your blood stream and messing with your hormones (the natural chemicals that tell your body what to do).

Don't microwave food or drinks.  Some studies have shown that microwaving food increases your white blood cell count, as well as causing those eating the food to feel more tired.*

The mechanism by which heat is produced causes internal damage to the delicate molecular structures of vitamins and phytonutrients. Minerals are largely unaffected, however, so you'll still get the same magnesium, calcium and zinc in microwaved foods as you would in non-microwaved foods, but the all-important B vitamins, anthocyanins, flavonoids and other nutritional elements are easily destroyed by microwave ovens. (source)

Get fresh air in your house and vehicle all year long by opening widows often.  (Air Pollution, the Hidden Winter Danger)

Use low VOC paints (they sell them anywhere paint is sold now a days, just ask for them).

Find furniture that hasn't been soaked in the very powerful fire retardant.  Wash clothes and stuffed animals before wearing or using them.
Skillet/Frying Pan 3

Smoking greatly increases your risk for getting lung cancer.

Swap out your Teflon pans and griddle for a cast iron griddle and pan, or stainless steal pots and pans.

Practice reducing your stress level.  Researchers believe that 90% of disease and sickness could be stress related because of the inflammation it causes internally.  Find time to enjoy life.

Exercise reduces your risk of cancer, and improves your chances of recovering from it.  It's also a great stress reliever and mood improver.

That's cool!Get a good water filter like the Berkey, or reverse osmosis system (although you have to add back trace minerals into the water for it to be healthy for reverse osmosis).  I love our Berkey system.  Initially it costs about $300, but then there is nothing else to purchase for years.  The two basic filters are good for 6000 gallons of water.  Replacement ones are $100 for two, making it cost less than 1.7 cents per gallon of water!  That's really high quality water at an amazing price.  I also recommend getting the fluoride/ arsenic filters, which are good for about 2 years on 2-3 gallons of water use per day.

Clean out your toiletries and make up that are leaching chemicals into your body.  About 70% of what goes onto our skin is in our blood stream within 30 seconds.  Find products that are truly all natural.  The Environmental Working Group has a great site where you can put in your speciffic toiletry, laundry soap, sunscreen, even make up, and more.

The kind of foods we eat are important for providing the right balance of nutrients and minerals that our bodies need.

BurgerEat meat, dairy products from organic free range meat, and grass fed cows.

Make sure your meat, and especially milk, are hormone free as much as can be afforded.

Stay away from artificial food coloring and synthetic preservatives, which can be carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Largely avoid canned food and drinks, unless its BPA free cans.

Don't eat meat that is burned, it has become carcinogenic.

SunflowerEat organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible.

Eat seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, etc.) and nuts on a regular basis.

Eat probiotic foods, like cultured vegetables and kefir, or take a probiotic supplement.  This replenishes the healthy bacteria that are important in keeping our immune system strong.

That should cover the basics, and I think you've got the idea by now.  Keep toxins out and put clean food and water into your body.

Staying healthy is an individual responsibility.  Our health now and in the future rests in the choices we make each day.

Hopefully this helps to clear up some of the confusion surrounding cancer.  I really hope it helps you to feel like you do have the power to make changes in your life that can truly improve your health and the health of those around you.  Take it one change at a time and you'll find yourself at place you are comfortable with before you know it.

Let me know if you'd like more in-depth information about any of the above topics and I'll do my best to answer.  A great read on this subject is the book The Anti Cancer, a New Way of Life by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber MD PHD.

Here's to enjoying great health and great tasting food!

*The Global College of Natural Medicine Module 2
The Anti Cancer book
The Gerson Miracle- documentary    I highly recommend watching this documentary.
Dying to Have Know- documentary

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