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30 Simple Ways You Can Prevent Cancer

Cancers don’t develop overnight. These cancer-fighting foods and other lifestyle moves can significantly reduce your cancer risk. Of course, you should always check with your doctor with any concerns.

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Cut out sugary drinks

Not only do sugary drinks contribute to obesity and diabetes, they may also increase your risk of endometrial cancer. According to research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, women who drank large amounts of sugar-laden beverages had up to an 87 percent higher risk of endometrial cancer, likely due to the pounds these drinks can add. Make sure you know these 9 surprising causes of cancer.

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Eat "resistant starches"

Resistant starch, found in foods like green bananas, rolled oats, and white beans, may help reduce the increased risk of colon cancer from a diet high in red meat. According to the journal Cancer Prevention Research, participants in a study had a 30 percent increase in cell proliferation in the rectal tissue after eating 300 grams of lean red meat a day (about 10 ounces) for four weeks. After adding 40 grams of resistant starches a day while eating the meat, cell proliferation levels went back down to normal. These are the 50 cancer myths you need to stop believing right now.

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Stand more and sit less

New studies suggest that people who spend most of their day sitting are at a 24 percent higher risk for colon and endometrial cancer than people who spend less time in a chair. Other research showed that people who spent more time in front of the TV had a 54 percent increased risk of colon cancer than those who watched less TV. Time to switch to a standing desk? If that's not an option, get up and walk around for a few minutes at least once an hour. Here are the 29 things you think cause cancer but don't.

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Steam your broccoli

Broccoli is a cancer-preventing super food—one you should eat frequently. But take note: A study done in 2008 by Italian researchers found that steamed broccoli contains more glucosinolate (the healthy components of the vegetable) than boiled, fried, or microwaved broccoli. Nutrients leach into the cooking water instead of remaining in the vegetable, according to the Harvard Family Health Guide.

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Eat Brazil nuts

They’re rich in selenium, a trace mineral found in soil that convinces cancer cells to commit suicide and helps cells repair their DNA. A Harvard study of more than 1,000 men with prostate cancer found those with the highest blood levels of selenium were 48 percent less likely to develop advanced disease over 13 years than men with the lowest levels. And a dramatic five-year study conducted at Cornell University and the University of Arizona showed that 200 micrograms of selenium daily—the amount in just two unshelled Brazil nuts—resulted in 63 percent fewer prostate tumors, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers, 46 percent fewer lung malignancies, and a 39 percent overall decrease in cancer deaths. Make sure to get selenium from food, not supplements. Research shows that men who consumed selenium supplements actually had an increased prostate cancer risk.

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Eat garlic

This pungent herb contains allyl sulfur compounds that may stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer, and may have the potential to help the body get rid of cancer-causing chemicals and help cause cancer cells to die naturally, a process called apoptosis. The Iowa Women’s Health Study showed that women who consumed the highest amounts of garlic had a 50 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared with women who ate the least. Find out how to prevent cancer of the colon with 12 everyday habits.

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Eat cruciferous veggies

People who eat broccoli and its cousins such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy at least once per week have a lower risk of kidney cancer compared with people who consume them less than once a month, according to a multinational European study. Check out the 30 other foods proven to help prevent cancer.

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Make a cancer-fighting dinner

Sauté two cloves of crushed garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil, then mix in a can of low-sodium diced tomatoes. Stir gently until heated and serve over one cup of whole-wheat pasta. You'll get the cancer-preventing benefits of garlic, plus the lycopene in the tomatoes protects against colon, prostate, lung, and bladder cancers, the olive oil helps your body absorb the lycopene, and the fiber-filled pasta reduces your risk of colon cancer. Don't miss the cancers that are notoriously tricky to detect early.

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Eat artichokes

Artichokes are a great source of silymarin, an antioxidant that may help prevent skin cancer by slowing cancer cell growth. To eat, peel off the tough outer leaves on the bottom, slice the bottom, and cut off the spiky top. Then boil or steam until tender, about 30-45 minutes. Drain and eat.

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Get 15 minutes of sun a day

Almost 90 percent of your body’s vitamin D comes directly from the sunlight—not from food or supplements. Studies have shown that a vitamin D deficiency can reduce communication between cells, causing them to stop sticking together and allowing cancer cells to spread, according to Cancer.net, a patient information website from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Vitamin D may also help promote proper cell maturation and reproduction; kinks in these processes can lead to cancer growth. People with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of multiple cancers, including breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, and stomach, as well as osteoporosis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure. But avoid overexposure, which can cause skin cancer—you only need a few minutes a day to produce adequate vitamin D levels. Here are the 37 more ways science says you can cut your cancer risk.

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