Get 15 minutes of sun a day.PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/shutterstock
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.
Marinate your meat.AS Food studio/Shutterstock
The high temperature required to grill meat (and broil and fry, for that matter) creates compounds called heterocyclic amines that are linked to cancer. These compounds may damage DNA enough to spur the growth of tumors in the colon, breast, prostate, and lymph cells. One University of Minnesota study found that eating charred meat regularly can increase pancreatic cancer risk by up to 60 percent. According to research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, marinating red meat in beer or wine for two hours prior to cooking reduced the amount of these harmful compounds. Kansas State University research found that rubbing rosemary onto uncooked meats blocks the formation of these cancer-causing compounds by up to 100 percent. You can also rub a couple of cut kiwifruit on a low-fat cut of meat as a tenderizer to help protect the meat during grilling from those harmful cancer-causing compounds.
Drink green tea.Liv friis larsen/Shutterstock
More than 50 studies on the association between tea and cancer risk have been published since 2006, according to the National Cancer Institute. While findings have been inconsistent—partly due to variations in types of tea and differences in preparation and consumption—some papers have found tea drinkers have a reduced risk of breast, ovarian, colon, prostate and lung cancer. The healing powers of green tea have been valued in Asia for thousands of years. Some scientists believe that a chemical in green tea, EGCG, could be one of the most powerful anti-cancer compounds ever discovered due to the high number of antioxidants. These are other health benefits of green tea that you probably never knew about.