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Reproductive Cancer Awareness

In this episode, Jessica talks about Reproductive Cancer Awareness and some changes we can make in our diets to help prevent these kinds of cancers.

Every cancer is different, but there are a lot of general things you can do to help prevent cancer. There are three main factors that you can control and they have to do with diet, exercise, and not smoking.

1. Be as lean as possible for as long as possible. Being overweight is the biggest dietary risk factor in the development of cancer. Controlling your weight is one of the most important things you can to to help prevent cancer.

2. Eat a healthy diet. This will help with weight loss and keeping a healthy weight, as well as help prevent cancer. The Mediterranean Diet is emerging as the best framework for an anti-cancer eating plan.

Plant foods are rich in phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and antioxidants that are important in the fight against free radicals (which can damage DNA and initiate cancer if their reactions are not repaired by antioxidants).

Here are some of the foods that contain promising cancer-protective phytonutrients:
• Those in the cruciferous vegetable family are of particular importance. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, radishes, cabbage, arugula, and kale are all believed to contain compounds called sulphoraphanes that are especially good for inhibiting prostate and breast cancers.

• Orange and green vegetables and fruits contain carotenoids, which are believed to help protect against breast cancer.

• Pomegranates contain phytonutrients that seem to halt the growth of prostate tumors and possibly other types of tumors, too.

• Tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes, are rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient similar to beta carotene. Populations that consume lots of lycopene-rich foods have lower risks of prostate, cervical, and breast cancers.

• Green tea and, to a lesser extent, black tea contain different classes of phytonutrients that may help reduce the risk of developing breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.

• Beans, legumes, and whole grains are high in fiber and are therefore believed to help prevent certain types of cancers by binding to hormones that circulate in the blood and carrying them out of our bodies quickly. Beans and legumes also contain compounds that can help protect against breast and colon cancers. Eat these plant proteins in place of red meat or poultry for one meal each day to receive significant benefits.

Replacing meat proteins with vegetable proteins will help give you more protection against cancer as well.

Certain anti-inflammatory fats like monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are protective when eaten in the optimal ratio compared to other fats.

Minimizing sugar intake is also an important aspect in of a cancer-protective diet.

Finally, consuming alcohol has also been linked to certain cancers.

3. Get more active. Both inactivity and underactivity are significant risk factors for cancer.

Exercise is beneficial for several reasons. First, it can help burn calories and therefore the excess body fat that is a risk factor for many cancers. It also helps reduce levels of circulating hormones that, when elevated, are linked to several types of reproductive cancers. Physical activity boosts the immune system, which helps fight off potential carcinogens and diseases. Exercise is important in the digestive process because it can tone gut muscles and help food move through you quicker, so that your exposure time to harmful substances is reduced. Being physically active on a regular basis has also been shown to increase survival rates and life expectancy for those with breast cancer.

Cancer risk is different for each individual depending on many uncontrollable factors. However, weight, overall diet, exercise, and tobacco use are factors that we do have control over and they carry a lot of significance when it comes to lowering reproductive cancer risk and preventing or delaying these cancers. For these reasons, I urge you to live the healthiest life that you can to help reduce your controllable risk factors and boost your overall health as much as possible.


What are some specific foods that women should emphasize to reduce their risk of breast cancer?
Organic extra virgin olive oil
Fatty fish
Chia and flax seeds
Cruciferous vegetables
Other vegetables
Whole forms of soy
Green tea

Other cooking oils and fats
Conventionally raised meat, poultry and dairy products

What foods should men emphasize to reduce their risk of prostate cancer?
Organic extra virgin olive oil
Fatty fish
Tomatoes, tomato products
Cruciferous vegetables
Other vegetables
Other fruits
Whole forms of soy
Fiber-rich foods, such as beans
Green tea
Pomegranate juice

Other cooking oils and fats
Red meat
Dairy products

Do dietary supplements protect against reproductive cancers?
Dietary supplements can be helpful for correcting nutrient deficiencies and treating or preventing some other health conditions, but for the most part, there is not yet enough evidence to support their use for cancer prevention (vitamin E supplements may even increase prostate cancer risk). One exception, is vitamin D supplements; they may be protective against prostate cancer in men with vitamin D deficiencies—ask your doctor to check you vitamin D levels. Forget about those broccoli pills, though—your best bet for optimal health and disease prevention is to eat between seven and 11 servings of produce daily.


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Gelson's Registered Dietitian, Jessica Siegel, has a Masters in Public Health. However, she is not a doctor and her nutritional recommendations are not tailored to specific health problems. Always consult your physician before beginning any nutritional program.


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