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One of the most talked topics of this week is without a doubt, Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy surgery that was announced yesterday. In case you haven’t heard the news, the 37-year-old actress announced in a New York Times op-ed article on Tuesday that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. By doing this surgery, she supposedly cut down her chances of getting cancer from 87% to under 5%.
While I applaud her for undergoing this surgery for the sake of her children, but now some experts are saying that she may also be stoking a deep-seated fear of cancer in less susceptible-women, driving them to seek unnecessary medical attention and causing undue anxiety about a disease that strikes terror. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here because frankly speaking, if Death is knocking on your door, you really can’t stop it from coming. It’s the truth and I think Hamlet says it best: conscience does make cowards of us all. But I think what’s important and which is why I’ve decided to write this post, is to live a healthy life-style. You can spent your entire life trying to prolong your days without really living. So instead of looking for the next medical break-through, why not just do something as simple as changing your diet to something that’s more healthy. I am no medical expert, but I have gathered a list of foods for cancer prevention, which I actually really enjoying eating.
Of all the fruits and vegetables studied, berries rank among the most likely to reduce cancer risk and luckily it’s also my favourite kinds of fruits. Raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries in particular have shown very promising potential to help prevent cancer. Next time you want a sweet treat, skip the cookies and feast on juicy, delicious berries that can boost your health.
This is my personal favourite because I love eating sweet potatoes. I’m really fortunate that there’s a supermarket really close to my work that sells fresh/warm sweet potatoes everyday. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. Among premenopausal women, one study found that eating a lot of vegetables that include beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, and fiber – like sweet potatoes — reduced the risk of breast cancer by about half.
In Japan, where tea is the preferred beverage, green tea consumption has been linked to reduced risk of stomach cancer among women. In China, green tea drinkers were found to have a lower risk of developing rectal and pancreatic cancers compared with non-tea drinkers. I always try to keep some green tea bags around the house or at the workplace. This allows me to drink at least a few cups of green tea in a day.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage contain phytonutrients known as glucosinolates, which may help inhibit the metabolism of some carcinogens and stimulate the body’s production of detoxification enzymes. Surprisingly, I’m a huge fan of broccoli ever since I was little. My mother would always steam a cupful of broccoli for me on a regular basis and now, I enjoy it so much.
I know that sometimes it’s difficult to eat healthy, especially when we are fighting off our cravings. Don’t expect to completely cut off your junk food right away, but instead take it step by step and day by day. If you really cannot stand the mundane taste of some vegetables, try taking my high school Food and Nutrition teacher’s advice: all food have potential to taste great, you just have to find the right receipt for it ;)