Although heart disease remains the #1 one killer for Americans, there seems to be far more fear and mystery associated with cancer. It’s certainly understandable that heart disease is less daunting. Unlike cancer, it typically issues many warnings along the way, such as elevated cholesterol levels, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, etc. And heart disease tends to be fairly reversible, even in the later stages. Cancer is quite a different story. Few would disagree that because there is no “cure” and treatment options are agonizingly expensive, that all efforts we can make towards prevention are not only valuable─they may be lifesaving.
So how can you minimize your cancer risk? Fortunately, most of the lifestyle choices that help protect you from heart disease, stroke and diabetes also cut your cancer risk. Here are 5 key actions you can take:
• Avoid tobacco, in all forms, all the time
• Reach─and maintain─a healthy body weight
• Swap the white flour items for whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal
• Boost your daily intake of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables
• Enjoy wine─especially red─in moderation
Wait, what was that last one? Yes, you read it right, though moderation is important. Too much wine─especially for women─and you may reverse the cancer-fighting benefits. So, just how does a daily glass of red wine help you defy cancer? It turns out that along with being heart-healthy, resveratrol-rich red wine exhibits specific anticancer properties, like its ability to suppress the spread of a wide range of tumor cells, including lymphoid and myeloid cancers; cancers of the breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreas, and thyroid; melanoma; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and ovarian and cervical carcinomas. Wow, what a list!
Apparently, resveratrol concentrates in the liver and kidneys, protecting you from the multi-step process of carcinogenesis at various stages. It blocks the activation of carcinogens as well as suppressing tumor initiation, promotion, and progression.1 The European Journal of Cancer Research chimes in, stating that wine consumption may decrease the risk of cancer at several sites including cancer of the upper digestive tract, lung, colon, basal cell carcinoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Moreover, resveratrol inhibits the metabolic activation of carcinogens, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and decreases cancer cell proliferation.2
Many studies have established that resveratrol exerts anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, while also regulating (in your favor) the multiple cellular events associated with cancer development─the "cancer cascade." Studies with resveratrol support its use not only for cancer prevention, but in treatment combinations as well.3
Although there is no magic bullet when it comes to protecting yourself from cancer, there is a series of daily choices that in total make a profound difference in both short term health and longevity down the line. So, embrace your wellness. A votre santé!
1 Anticancer Res. 2004 Sep-Oct;24(5A):2783-840
2 Eur J Cancer Prev. 2003 Oct;12(5):417-25
3 Curr Med Chem Anticancer Agents. 2003 Mar;3(2):77-93