There's no question, cancer is a scary disease that affects far too many people. Chances are you know someone who has battled one of its many forms. And while there's no miracle food or herb that can guarantee to keep us safe from The Big C, there are certainly some bad habits worth losing that may improve our chances of staying cancer free.
Not enough vegetables: Yeah, your mom knew what she was talking about when she made you sit at the table until you finished your Brussel sprouts. A lack of important fiber and phytonutrients found in vegetables have been linked to certain types of cancer. Eat 'em every day to keep cancer at bay.
Overeating: Obesity is plaguing our country. If you're an overeater, be warned. Experts concluded that cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium kidney and esophagus are all associated with obesity. Some studies have also reported links between obesity and cancers of the gallbladder, ovaries and pancreas.
Charbroiled or grilled: If "flame-broiled" makes your mouth water and heart skip a beat, you may want to take a seat... Compounds found in charred foods have been linked to breast cancer in women. Opt for roasted or baked and leave the char for the fireplace.
Lack of Vitamin D: Research studies show a connection between lower levels of vitamin D and cancer. It's not found in too many foods (meat and mushrooms), but lots of food items (like non-dairy milks) are fortified with it. 15 minutes of sunlight a day is a great way to get your D, too.
Lack of Omega fatty acids: Americans, especially those who eat a lot of processed foods, aren't getting enough of the right types of Omega fatty acids, which have tremendous health benefits. Scientists continue to study their absence in relation to increased risk of cancer. Find Omega fatty acids in hemp, chia and flax seeds, olive oil and walnuts.
Processed Foods: I know, Pringles and Twix bars taste kinda good. It's pretty remarkable that something that does absolutely nothing good for our bodies can taste so yummy! Processed foods cause slews of health problems and have been linked to an increased risk of several cancers, including lung cancer.
Diet Soda: That Coke Zero is sugar free, and cancer loves sugar, so you're good, right? Well, not to burst your bubbly, but artificial colors in many sodas have been linked to cancer, as have the artificial sweeteners. Need a fuzzy sip? Try sparkling water with a twist instead. Or our Fizzy Cucumber Lemonade.
Pesticides: Some pesticides have been taken off the market because they were discovered to cause cancer—but there are many more out there, and new studies also link them to cancer. Eat organic, know the "dirty dozen" list, and always thoroughly wash your produce!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger