Recent research reveals 7 stealth strategies to keep the killer at bay. It’s time to raise your carcinogen shields—and your overall health—using these smart anti-C tips.
1. Drink pomegranate juice. Some say this luscious, lusty red fruit is Eve’s original apple, but what the pomegranate truly banishes is cancer risk. The fruit’s deep red juice contains polyphenols, isoflavones, and ellagic acid, elements researchers believe make up a potent anticancer combo. It’s been shown to delay the growth of prostate cancer in mice, and it stabilizes PSA levels in men who’ve been treated for prostate cancer.
2. Eat blueberries. Got pterostilbene? Rutgers University researchers say this compound—found in blueberries—has colon cancer-fighting properties. When rats with colon cancer were fed a diet supplemented with pterostilbene, they had 57 percent fewer precancerous lesions after 8 weeks than rats not given the compound did. Eat blueberries and you’ll also benefit from a big dose of vitamin C (14 milligrams per cup).
3. Relax a little. Purdue University researchers tracked 1,600 men over 12 years and found that half of those with increasing levels of worry died during the study period. Talk about flunking the exam. Only 20 percent of the optimists died before the 12-year study was completed. More anxiety-producing news: Thirty-four percent of the neurotic men died of some type of cancer.
4. Take Selenium. Selenium has long been thought of as a cancer fighter, but you can have too much of a good thing. A study of almost 1,000 men, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that when those with the lowest initial levels of selenium in their bodies received a daily supplement over a 4 1/2- year period, they cut their prostate-cancer risk by an impressive 92 percent.
5. Vitamin D every day. Scientists have viewed vitamin D as a potent cancer fighter for decades, but there’s never been a gold-standard trial—until now. A Creighton University study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who supplemented their diets with 1,000 international units of vitamin D every day had a 60 percent to 77 percent lower incidence of cancer over a 4-year period than did women taking a placebo. Vitamin D is necessary for the best functioning of the immune system—it causes early death of cancer cells.
6. Clear your air. Secondhand smoke may be even worse for you than we thought. A recent American Journal of Public Health study reveals that nonsmokers working in smoky places had three times the amount of NNK, a carcinogen, in their urine than nonsmoking workers in smoke-free joints had. And their levels of NNK rose 6 percent for every hour worked. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and the greater the exposure, the higher the risk.
7. Invest a little sweat equity. Study after study has pointed to the cancer-beating power of exercise. Now research from Norway has found that even a tiny dose of exercise has big benefits. A study of 29,110 men published last year in the International Journal of Cancer shows that men who exercised just once a week had a 30 percent lower risk of metastatic prostate cancer than did men who didn’t work out at all. Increasing the frequency, duration, and intensity of the exercise correlated with a further, gradual reduction in risk.