By Vera Gruessner
Have you ever heard the saying, “At least you have your health?” If you lose your job, your car breaks down, or you get a divorce, your loved ones will often say “At least you have your health.” But what happens if you don’t? Many around the country are not living a healthy life, as they continue to eat processed food, drink excessively or smoke away any vitality and vigor they have left. Many people are diagnosed with heart disease or cancer. It is truly saddening to think that many of these cases could have been preventable.
The World Health Organization states that at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. For instance, tobacco use is a major risk factor for cancer. Some reports show that it even causes breast cancer (along with lung, pancreas, stomach and bladder cancer!). As many as 22 percent of cancer deaths every year are attributable to smoking cigarettes. Some other factors include obesity, physical inactivity, diet, and alcohol use. Below we’ll discuss four ways to stay healthy and prevent cancer.
Aim for a Healthy Weight
Obesity or excess weight increases your risk of breast cancer and many other diseases. This is why it’s vital to strive for a healthy weight. If you are overweight, be prepared for a long journey. Even if it takes you six months or a year to get to a healthier weight, it is worth it and will keep you living a longer and healthier life. Try to find a friend and work on losing that extra weight! Go for daily walks or jogs and revamp your entire diet. Try to keep yourself active whether that’s playing sports or going for a hike on a Saturday. In fact, try to exercise for about 45 minutes five times per week.
Cut Your Alcohol Intake
Did you know that two drinks of alcohol every day can raise your breast cancer risk by as much as 21 percent? Try to put that glass down more often. Aim for no more than three or four drinks per week. You can even choose to have more grapes instead of going for that glass of wine.
Add More Vegetables to Your Diet
Vegetables as well as fruits are full of antioxidants that prevent cancer. It’ll both help you stay at a healthy weight and improve your nutrition intake. Be sure that your lunch and dinner plates are half-filled with vegetables and some protein. Focus on poultry and fish as well as plenty of broccoli, kale, carrots, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and other delicious vegetables.
Learn about Your Family History
It’s important to learn more about your family background and any history of cancer in your family. As many as 15 percent of breast cancer cases have a family history of the disease. Genetics definitely play a role, as the BRCA gene mutations have led to both breast and ovarian cancer among countless women. So don’t forget to pay attention to your family background. If you are at higher risk due to genetics, your doctor may suggest starting mammography earlier and/or having it more frequently.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle focused on wellness! You’ll be preventing cancer and setting the perfect example for those around you.
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