I’ve never met her, I hardly know her, but her news hit me hard. My heart felt heavy. A heavy and sunken feeling that seemed quite ridiculous afterwards. I’ve always looked up to this woman. Everything about her is admirable, her career, witty humour, fitness ardour and innate capability to make relationships work.
Two weeks ago, E! host and journalist, Giuliana Rancic, revealed she had breast cancer. Her doctors have said it’s 100% curable as it was detected in very early stages. She will be fine. She will survive.
In the past, Rancic has ran two half marathons. She’s known for her controversially fit physique, healthy eating lifestyle. She also edits a health and fitness blog. Question is – how can she have cancer?
36-year-old, extremely fit woman, who treats her body like a temple shouldn’t be getting cancer. That’s not in the rulebook. It’s not in my ‘C rulebook,’ at least.
How wrong was I? Very.
Due to its astonishing quality, the news made headlines around the world, and I found myself alternating between the mirror and the floor. For the first time, in the last 22 years, I performed a self-breast examination.
Such is the power of the C-word.
This fatal disease can overshadow the monstrous of all storms and chomp away years from your precious life, all within minutes.
We can choose to live in fear and play the wait-game. Or we can leap up and prevent this.
The body isn’t a dustbin; it needs the love and care. Forget supermodel-hyped superfoods (looking at you, Miranda Kerr), a stroll along the aisle of your price regulated grocery store can minimise by the risk of cancer, drastically.
Revamp your pantry and fridge with wallet-friendly foods. Book an appointment with your gynaecologist. And smile! Your body says ‘thank you’.
Here are the top 10 cancer-fighting foods:
- Yellow and Green Vegetables: Not just your wardrobe let your insides wear ‘colour’ as well. Include vegetables like broccoli, yellow capsicum, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts to your diet. Also known as cruciferous vegetables, these beauties are rich in cancer-fighting phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane.
- Green Tea: Cancer Council NSW supports the intake of green, black or oolong tea, which contain antioxidant polyphenols called ‘catechins’. These are known to halt tumour cells and protect healthy cells from getting damaged. Consume three cups per day (without sugar) to help neutralise free radicals. If you’re not a fan of natural tea, add some raw honey to eliminate bitterness.
- Red Wine: As tempting as consuming an entire bottle of red with a side of green curry on a Friday night sounds, moderation is the key for red wine. A glass a day can actually help stave off cancer according to rigorous scientific researches performed over the years. The compound found in grape skins inhibits cell proliferation, also a great source of antioxidants.
- Tomato: Tomatoes have never received the kind of love and recognition they truly deserve. They’re very high in vitamin C and lucopene, the natural antioxidant that’s responsible for its redness. To attain its best properties, cook it on the stove. The body absorbs Lycopene better when tomatoes are cooked by being made into tomato puree, soup, sauce or ketchup. Remember to keep the sugar at bay, though.
- Turmeric: It doesn’t just spice up a curry, but has more health benefits to it than what you’d imagine. Popularly found in Indian and Thai curries, this natural anti-inflammatory inhibits the growth of new blood vessels in tumours. It’s all in the magic of ‘curcumin’, the active ingredient in turmeric. Add a pinch to homemade soups, curries or stews.
- Grapefruit: What’s not to love about a fruit that demands calories to metabolise in the body? Basically, you’re eating it and your body is burning calories to burn the food. Amazing, huh? This bittersweet citrus fruit contains phytonutrients that have anti-tumour activity. Its citric acid increases alkalinity in the body. Also brilliant for detoxification of the liver.
- Avocado: In 2007, Sydney’s Garvan Institute conducted a research that discovered a compound found in the leaves and fruit of the avocado tree can kill breast cancer cells. It’s the richest source of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione, that’s proven to block thirty different cancer-causing carcinogens. Holy Guacamole!
- Pumpkin seeds: These tiny babies are often shoved in the bin when the kitchen is inundated with a sweet and husky aroma of pumpkin pie. A great source of amino acids, Vitamin D and L-tryptophan (helps reduce stress – winner!), pumpkin seeds are a must in the shopping trolley. Delicious as a snack by itself, in your homemade trail mix or when added to your morning cereal. Cancer Council Australia recommends an intake of 300-600 mgs to boost the immune system.
- Seaweed: Contains high levels of vitamin B12, chlorophyll, protein and fibre, this 100% natural extract causes cancer cells to self-destruct. Eat it in sushi form or roast it at home (super easy). Sprinkle olive oil and rock salt, roast for 15-20 minutes in the oven – perfect on-the-go snack.
- Vitamin D: Not commonly found in food, this sunshine vitamin combusts breast cancer cells in the most natural form. Since it’s almost summer time, there’s no reason to not eat your lunch outside in the park. If you have fair skin, the recommended time is about 10 to 15 minutes each day or ten times as long if you have dark skin pigmentation. But always remember to slap on SPF30+ sunscreen before stepping out. Sun’s harmful UV rays can cause a contradictory effect.
Foods that promote cancer cells:
- Trans Fat: It not only raises your bad cholesterol levels (LDL), resulting in heart diseases and strokes but also fuels the development of cancer cells. A 2008 study conducted in America found women who consumed the most trans fat had a 75 percent increased risk of breast cancer. This includes margarines, hydrogenated oils and frozen meals. Read the labels and shop smartly.
- White sugar: To metabolise white sugar, while the pancreas makes insulin, your liver makes something called IGF, which is one of the chiefadvocators of breast cancer. Substitute it with natural Manuka honey, raw sugar or agave nectar.
- Processed food: Drop all processed foods that contain a chemical called, acrylamide. In 2002, Swedish researchers found the chemical to cause tumours in rats. Common foods such as potato chips, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals, frozen pies and puff pastries, contain high levels of this substance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shitika Anand has a very flashy certificate in her drawer that reads “Bachelors of Journalism – with distinction”. But she finds her gradually increasing beauty cupboard and subsequent by-lines more rewarding. When she’s not tweeting or rambling on her blog, ‘Sweet Dreams in my World’, you’ll find her sitting in a corner of her nearest bookshop and hiding under a monstrous pile of international magazines.