31 Simple Ways to Prevent Cancer | Reader's Digest

31 Simple Ways to Prevent Cancer

Small changes to inoculate yourself against cancer.

from Stealth Health

11. Every time you go to the bathroom, stop by the kitchen or water cooler for a glass of water. A major study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 found that men who drank six 8-ounce glasses of water every day slashed their risk of bladder cancer in half. Another study linked the amount of water women drank to their risk of colon cancer, with heavy water drinkers reducing their risk up to 45 percent.

12. Take up a tea habit. The healing powers of green tea have been valued in Asia for thousands of years. In the West, new research reveals that it protects against a variety of cancers as well as heart disease. Some scientists believe that a chemical in green tea called EGCG could be one of the most powerful anticancer compounds ever discovered.

13. Have a beer tonight. Beer protects against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, known to cause ulcers and possibly linked to stomach cancer. But don’t overdo it. Drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day may increase your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, liver, and breast cancer.

14. Throw some salmon on the grill tonight. Australian researchers studying Canadians (go figure) found those who ate four or more servings of fish per week were nearly one-third less likely to develop the blood cancers leukemia, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other studies show a link between eating fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and tuna, as well as shrimp and scallops) with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer in women. Ah, those amazing omega-3s at it again!

15. Take a multivitamin every morning. Many studies suggest getting the ideal levels of vitamins and minerals can improve your immune system function and help prevent a variety of cancers.

16. Get about 15 minutes of sunlight on your skin each day. You’ve heard of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D haven’t you? Turns out we’ve been so good at heeding advice to slather on sun lotion and avoid the sun’s rays that many of us aren’t getting enough of this valuable nutrient. Researchers find that getting too little vitamin D may increase your risk of multiple cancers, including breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, and stomach, as well as osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure.

The best source? Exposure to UVB rays found in natural and artificial sunlight. About 15 minutes a day ought to do it. Avoid overexposure, of course. That can increase your risk for cancers of the skin. You can also get vitamin D in your calcium supplement if you choose a supplement that contains both.

17. Carry a shot glass in your beach bag. Then fill it with sunscreen and rub it all over your body. A shot glass holds about 1.5 ounces, which is how much sunscreen dermatologists estimate you need to protect yourself from the cancer-causing UV rays of the sun. Repeat every two hours.

18. Cut a kiwifruit in half, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Now eat! Kiwi is a little hand grenade of cancer-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and copper. You can also rub a couple of cut kiwifruit on a low-fat cut of meat as a tenderizer.

19. Use a condom and stick to one partner. The more sexual partners a woman has, the greater her risk of contracting human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer. Having an unfaithful husband also increases her risk.

20. Cut out high-fat animal protein. A Yale study found that women who ate the most animal protein had a 70 percent higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while those who ate diets high in saturated fat increased their risk 90 percent. So switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy, have poultry or fish instead of beef or pork, and use olive oil instead of butter.