Cancer is now considered a lifestyle disease because a large part of it is connected to our nutrition and lifestyle choices. Hence, going back to our traditional wisdom as mentioned in Ayurvedic sciences may support health and healing. Vedic Nutrition is one of the forgotten sciences which was part of the Ayurvedic treatise.
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Smoking and chewing tobacco
Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. While cigarette is the main form in which tobacco consumed across the world, other forms include smoke-less tobacco products like khaini, gutka, pan masala etc. While lung cancer is the most common malignancy caused by smoking tobacco, oral cancer is caused by smokeless tobacco.
There are more than 15 carcinogenic compounds present in tobacco, which weaken the body’s immune system and make it harder to kill cancer cells.
High fat diet
Overweight and obesity can cause hormonal imbalance in the body that can lead to cancer. Chronic inflammation and higher levels of insulin, including insulin resistance, can lead to cancer. A study suggests that lipids can act as fuel for cancer’s aggressiveness. A diet rich in fat induces changes in gut microbiota, leading to activation of pre inflammatory pathways, which exacerbates inflammation, a known risk factor for cancer. Knowing your personal bioenergy and personalised nutrition may be the key to solving health problems.
Alcohol should be avoided as alcoholic drinks break down into acetaldehyde which is toxic in nature and acts as a human carcinogen. Acetaldehyde can damage both DNA, proteins and lipids (fats) in the body through a process called oxidation.
This impairs the body’s ability to absorb a variety of nutrients that prevent the body from cancer like Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamins D, Vit E etc. As alcoholic beverages may also contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants like phenols, hydrocarbons etc.
Plastics that contain BPA (Bisphenol A) exhibit hormone-like properties. BPA can mimic estrogen to interact with oestrogen receptors, leading to progression of cancer. Continuous exposure to BPA leads to hormone-associated cancers of breast, ovary and prostate.
A diet high in processed food raises the risk of colorectal cancer and mortality overall. Nitrates and nitrites are used to keep processed food for longer. These chemicals are cancer causing as studies suggest red and processed meat has the most carcinogens.
Maintain a healthy weight
Research suggests that lipids (fat) act as fuel for cancer cells, so avoid being overweight. Rather, one should try to shed excessive weight through intermittent fasting. Weight loss is just one benefit of intermittent fasting. Another benefit is that it decreases the risk of cancer or lowers the progression of cancer by producing tumour killing cells.
Eat a healthy diet
Diet has an impact on your risk of developing many types of risk cancers. You can reduce the risk by following a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Have a diet which is richer in omega-3 fatty acids and not omega-6 fatty acids. Consume at least 300-400 gm of fruits & vegetables daily, especially those fruits & vegetables which are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, Vitamin E. Personalised nutrition helps us thwart many diseases and if we get trained in personal nutrition, it can protect our health.
Include regular exercise in your daily regime for its multiple benefits that include prevention and/or regulation of high levels of insulin in the blood, controlling inflammation, improving the immune system and preventing weight gain.
Everyone experiences stress but chronic stress is different from regular stress. Stress can increase the release of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to low immunity. There is no such evidence that chronic stress causes cancer, but it can affect metastasis that may speed up growth of cancer or reduce the speed of healing.
Immunity booster herbs
In Ayurveda, OJAS or the quantum of immunity is one of the most essential things in maintaining a healthy body. Without it or at lower levels, our immune system also decreases. Some great herbs like ‘Ojas builder’ or ‘Rasayana’ and other Vedic herbs like ashwagandha, amla, giloy, seabuckthorn, pippali, bala etc., help the body to stabilise Ojas and boost immunity.
A medical doctor by training, Dr Shikha Sharma is the founder and managing director of Nutriwel Health and one of India’s most prominent nutritionists. She has pioneered the concept of Nutrigenetics, which combines modern medicine techniques and the principles of Ayurveda. Dr. Shikha and her team share weekly health and nutrition advice exclusively for EastMojo readers.
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