#1 Don't Burn Your Food
“Burnt or browned foods like burnt toast and bacon, and barbecued or charred meats are a possible source of carcinogens (a cancer-causing substance),” says nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin. “Cook at slow and low temperatures. If grilling, marinate food in lemon juice and rosemary, which can help to break down the carcinogens.”
#2 Slip, Slop, Slap
Singapore has 1,719 cases of skin cancer yearly; with skin cancer ranking sixth in male cancers and seventh in female cancers here. Whether just walking along the streets of Orchard or going to East Coast Park for a beach day, sunscreen is crucial. Do all you can to shut out harmful UV rays and help prevent cancer, including putting on sunglasses and a hat. And if you’re doing water sports, remember to re-apply sunblock frequently and generously.
#3 Keep The Peel
Did you know that citrus peel has a similar effect to sunscreen? The University of Arizona completed a study of limonene – a compound that gives lemons, oranges and limes their scent – which was linked to a 34 per cent reduction in skin cancer in their participants.
Limonene also reduces the risk of cancer in general. Put a drop or two of lemon, lime, orange, or tangerine essential oil into water or your favourite juice for an extra wallop of anti-cancer potential and to encourage the elimination of wastes and toxins. Limonene content stimulates white blood cell production, improves the body’s ability to combat infection, and helps to detoxify the liver.
#4 Cut Out Cigarettes
The moment you quit smoking, the health benefits start to roll in, such as a reduced risk of 12 types of cancers including lung, stomach, liver, prostate, breast, colorectal and cervical. Use resources like the The Health Promotion Board’s Quitline (1800 438 2000) for support to help break the habit.
#5 Get Scrubbing
Canadian researchers say active postmenopausal women who got most of their exercise from doing housework reduce their risk of breast cancer by 30 per cent.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on your housework solely for your daily exercise. You can start with moderately physical activity such as brisk walking 30 minutes three times a week, and raise it to 60 minutes of moderate or 30 minutes of vigorous activity, such as jogging every day.
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#6 An Apple A Day
Start snacking on apples! They’re rich in quercetin, an ingredient with potent antioxidant properties. Plus, they’re a zero point food, so you can have as many as you like without stretching your waistline. Double win!
As a rule of thumb, fruits with a dark red or blue hue have high quercetin content. Raw red onions and capers are also a good source of the antioxidant.
#7 Nail It
Your nails can often disclose the state of our health, so pay closer attention. Any grey and/or black discolouration of fingernails and toenails may indicate disease. A distorted or elevated nail could also indicate illness, so keep your eye out for those too.
#8 Watch For Mould
According to nutritionist Zoe, excess mould – found in mould-contaminated foods like peanuts, cheese and bread – is a source of fungal toxins linked to an increased risk of cancer. She recommends buying fresh, sealed and smaller quantities of food to avoid mould-growth. Storing your food correctly will also reduce the risk of mould developing.
#9 Drink Less Booze
Many people still don’t realise alcohol consumption contributes to cancer risk. The more you drink, the greater the risk. The Ministry of Health recommends that men should consume no more than two standard drinks a day, and women, no more than one – but try and have some alcohol-free days too.