Let’s talk about the C word. Since there are so many deaths that occur each year due to cancer, it is worth us looking into what causes cancer, and whether there are any ways to significantly lower your chances of cancer.
The good news is that it is very possible to reduce your chances of cancer by a large amount. Do not believe any claims made by media outlets that claim cancer is just an unlucky roll of the dice, in some cases it may be, but in the majority of cases, better diet could have helped prevent it.
Let’s first look at how a cancer cell develops, and then we can look into a process that we can help through specific nutrition practices.
How does cancer form?
How does a cell go from functioning normally to becoming cancerous? It is all down to a cell mutating. What is mutation, and how can it occur? Mutation in a cell is all down to the normal process of a cell. In the life of a cell, the time regularly coms whereby the cell DNA needs to be replicated, this process is occurring in your body automatically everywhere all the time. This issue is that DNA can become damaged. If this damage in the DNA is replicated, the cell is then ‘mutated’ and thus is cancerous.
You might ask, can we not stop DNA from being damaged in the first place? Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable occurrence that DNA undergoes. DNA can be damaged by types of radiation, carcinogens or by normal metabolic functioning. So it is safe to say that DNA will be damaged in your lifetime. This is also why many older people are afflicted with cancer, since the DNA damage that they incur over a lifetime can sometimes cause a cell to mutate and become cancerous. Obviously things such as carcinogens and radiation can be avoided most of the time, so try to avoid nuclear fallout (Or UV3 radiation) and forest fires (Carcinogens).
How does your body fight DNA damage?
So since everyone on earth suffers some DNA damage, but not everyone gets cancer, there must be some bodily process that prevents the cells from mutating. What is this process? How important is it? Can we ensure that this process runs properly most of the time? Let’s see.
There are two ways that your body deals with damage to DNA, the first is by what are referred to as DNA repair cells. We can think of these as little doctors running around the DNA strands in your body actively checking for damage. Once damage is found, these guys most of the time have the ability to repair the damaged DNA, thus stopping mutation and stopping cancerous cells from forming.
These repair cells are formed from natural ingredients from your body. However, everything that your body needs has to come from outside itself. Your body is a factory, and it needs the right supply of materials into it to keep functioning at full capacity. The most important ingredient in DNA repair cells is Magnesium. This is used in the majority of DNA repair work, yet, many people (in the US it is the majority of people) are deficient in it.
So how can you get enough magnesium into your diet so as to bolster up your DNA repair cell functioning? It’s not too difficult, and before you start supplementing with pills, look to your diet. Some of the best sources for magnesium are ark leafy greens, such as Kale and Spinnach. Having a healthy dose of these daily can be enough to bolster up the magnesium content in your body. Another food to consider adding daily are Almonds, these are also very rich in magnesium. Adding these things into your diet can be enough without resorting to supplementation, however, check with your doctor to see whether you are lacking and do require extra attention through supplements.
A Second line of defence
There is always going to be some DNA damage in your body, this is basically unavoidable in your lifetime. However, there is another line of defence that your body has that can be bolstered by your diet. This mechanism is called “Apoptosis”, or in slightly cooler less formal terms “cell death”. This basically means that there are detectors in your body called “tumour suppressor genes” that have the ability to detect DNA damage, cell mutations, and can kill cancerous cells.
It is also possible for these tumour suppresses cells to be damaged, and invariably some of them will be over the course of your lifetime. The damage that these cells suffer is unfortunately a random occurrence. So although there is nothing you can do to prevent these tumour suppressor genes from being damaged, what is possible is to increase how powerful the functioning genes are.
Each of these genes can be influenced by our diet, and this increases their ‘expression’. So basically, each gene will be looking for and curing as many cancerous cells that exist in the body. This is done by the consumption of cruciferous vegetables. By ensuring that you are eating a healthy amount of cruciferous vegetables daily, you will be ensuring that the tumour suppressor genes running around your body are being as active as they possibly can.
If you listen to the news, it seems that every food has been linked to cancer and to curing cancer, and you might reason that it is all luck. This isn’t true. There are definite things that you can do to reduce the probability that you will not be afflicted with certain forms of cancer.
Ensure that you are eating plenty of magnesium (leafy greens and almonds) and plenty of cruciferous veg. Do not leave things up to chance, but work hard in your diet to get the right things that your body needs!