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Dr. Oz’s Tips to Prevent Cancer: 8 Little Things You Can Do Every Single Day

In their updated book 'You: Staying Young,' best-selling doctor duo Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD, share simple lifestyle tweaks that you can make to keep cancer away.

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Get the aspirin advantage

One of the greatest things you can do for your health takes literally half a second a day. Taking 162 milligrams of aspirin a day (that’s two baby aspirins or half a regular) can decrease the risk of getting colon cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer—all by 40 percent. And it probably decreases the risk of stomach, throat, and several other cancers as well. Aspirin does have side effects, though, so discuss with your doctor first.

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Use the right oil

In a test of olive oils, researchers found anti-carcinogenic properties in monounsaturated fat. In other words, olive oil is not only a heart helper but it may also deter cancer. Its beneficial properties could also explain why southern Europeans, whose diets prominently feature olive oil, have lower rates of both heart disease and cancer than northern Europeans, whose diets don’t feature this oil. Here are more extraordinary health benefits of olive oil.

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B(e) protected

Research shows that a deficiency of folate, part of the B complex of vitamins, is linked to cancer. Taking a supplement with folate decreases colon cancer rates by 20 percent to 50 percent (aim for about 800 micrograms per day). Many foods—like spinach, tomatoes, and orange juice—contain folate, but it is absorbed less well than consuming folic acid from supplements. The average intake of folate through food is 275 to 375 micrograms, so you need a multi with about 400 micrograms to reduce your risk of cancer. That’s especially important if you’re allowing sun exposure (more than 20 minutes a day) to deplete your folate levels.

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Eat selenium-rich foods

Selenium, a trace mineral needed by our bodies, acts like an antioxidant when it’s incorporated into proteins, so it may reduce damage that can lead to cancer. It comes largely from garlic and other foods that absorb selenium from the soil. Many fish and Brazil nuts also have selenium.

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Safeguard your skin in the car

The majority of skin cancers occur on the left side of the face. Why? Driving. The trend these days in cars and SUVs is for bigger windows, and most of them aren’t tinted. Plus, automobile windows block only one kind of UV ray: UVA, not UVB rays. Try to keep your window up while you’re driving (it’s energy-saving as well), and make sure to wear sunblock. It’s wise to go in for a yearly checkup by a dermatologist so she can look for spots and blemishes that could be cancerous. In between visits, monitor your own body, looking for any changes in your skin. These lesser-known skin cancer risk factors may surprise you.

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Get sauced

Studies show that the risk of developing certain cancers decreases when you eat 10 or more tablespoons a week of tomato sauce. Many believe that the active ingredient responsible is lycopene, a carotenoid known for its antioxidant properties. All tomato products contain lots of lycopene, but it is more available to your body when it’s cooked. While you’re at it, add some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli to your sauce. They also contain compounds that prevent cancer. These are other proven cancer-fighting foods to eat more often.

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Fortify yourself with vitamin D

Vitamin D decreases the risk of cancer, perhaps because it’s toxic to cancer cells. It’s also thought that vitamin D bolsters the ability of the guard dog p53 gene to spot cancerous cells and kill them. Most Americans don’t get enough D (here are signs you could be deficient in vitamin D) because we’re indoors most of the time, and when we’re outdoors, we’re wearing sunscreen. We recommend getting 800 IU a day if you’re younger than 60 and 1000 IU if you’re over 60. Get vitamin D through a combination of sun exposure (about 20 minutes a day), food, and supplements.

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Protect your liver

Since your liver is your main detox organ, you’re smart to keep it performing at its best. Broccoli sprouts, seaweed, and dark greens can help improve liver function and reduce the risk of prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancers by revving up detoxifying enzymes at the genetic level. Other supplements that have been shown to improve liver health include choline (which can be found in these cruciferous vegetables), as well as N-acetyl-cysteine (600 milligrams per day), milk thistle (200 milligrams per day), and rosemary extract (150 milligrams per day). These are other lifestyle habits that can drastically cut your cancer risk.

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You: Staying Young

Drs. Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Roizen have updated their book You: Staying Young to provide the latest information on what you can do to look and feel good no matter what year you were born. Covering everything from aging and bacteria to telomeres and the vagus nerve, the book also has a 14-day plan to reboot your health.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest