The seminar looked at biochemical individuality, determining the unique needs of the individual and restoring homoeostasis (balance), all of which form a foundation for maintaining or restoring optimum health. We covered the role of lifestyle versus genetics, the predisposing factors and their relation to the development of cancer.
Truly fascinating stuff so I thought I would share a few interesting facts and lifestyle tips to best support your homeostasis and optimum health.
Startling statistics on current cancer occurrence risk:
- 50% of men (1 in 2)
- 40% of women (1 in 3.5)
- Genes account for a maximum 7% of cancer risk
- We can’t control the genes we are born with but we can control how our genes are expressed or unexpressed through diet and lifestyle changes. For example, a recent study found that physical activity and lack of obesity in adolescence delayed onset of breast cancer.
- Most gene defects found in cancer are not inherited, they arise sporadically.
- Cell mutations lead to progression, rather than occurrence
- Our prevention concept is generally flawed and unhelpful. We are guilty of focusing on proving beyond reasonable doubt that a substance or practice is definitely carcinogenic. For example extended arguments over cigarette smoking.
So what can we do to support homeostasis and optimum health?
Healthy cell membranes are needed for nutrient uptake and elimination of toxins. Healthy cells need the correct fats – omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, flaxseed oil. Use coconut oil for cooking and flaxseed oil as a salad dressing.
Avoid "bad" fats – trans and hydrogenated fats (e.g. vegetable oils in plastic bottles, ‘buttery’ spreads, spray oils).
Seriously increase vegetable intake.
How many of us actually get 8-10 portions of veggies a day? Or even 5, the absolute minimum? In my experience, very few. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner... it's so easy to fall into bad habits. Try and reduce dependence on carbohydrate dominant meals and aim to make 50% of your plate veggies instead.
Eat phytonutrients. Plant foods contain phytonutrients - thousands of natural chemicals that have a positive influence on our health:
- Herbs in particularly are fantastic sources of phytonutrients: coriander, parsley, basil, ginger. Add them to vegetable smoothies to benefit from larger quantities instead of using them as a garnish.
- Make use of fresh vegetable juice to increase your consumption of these phytonutrients without over eating.
- Turmeric – curcumin is an antioxidant phytonutrient extracted from turmeric. It enhances immune cells and inhibits inflammatory cytokines that may stimulate tumour growth.
- Green tea – supports DNA repair and stimulates apoptosis (cell death) of damaged cells.
- Lycopene – found in cooked tomatoes increases the effect of Natural Killer cells and supports the prostate.
- If you are partial to a glass of red wine…
If you have to drink, consider choosing organic red wine*. Resveratrol is found in red grapes and berries. It protects and repairs DNA in the body. Resveratrol is produced naturally in grapes and berries to protect themselves from disease. As pesticides are used on non-organic fruit and vegetables to fight fungal infections, resveratrol levels could be lower.
If your digestion is compromised (bad breath, acid reflux, burping, passing wind, bloating, gas), reduced absorption of nutrients is a given.
Support the liver and detoxification pathways.
- Bad fats, sugar, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, aspartame (in fizzy drinks and sugar free diluting juice), car exhaust fumes all burden the liver.
- Eat organic whenever possible to reduce your environmental toxin load and exposure to pesticides.
- What toxins are used in your home? Household cleaners, detergents, sprays, air-fresheners, oven cleaners, chlorine. Toiletries, cosmetics, hair dye, perfumes. Seek out environmentally friendly alternatives to reduce your chemical load.
- Although most people think of oestrogen as a single entity, there are three types with different activities that make them more or less "oestrogenic” and thus increase a woman's risk of breast, uterine, and other cancers. Cruciferous vegetables support healthy oestrogen metabolism and hormone balance. Eat more broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (organic if possible).
Learn to manage stress. You are more stressed than you think! Emotional stress (change thinking), physical stress (change lifestyle). Consider meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices and affirmations.
Are you bored of dieting but confused about what you should be eating? Would you like to make use of that Nutri Bullet or juicer but not sure where to start? Or perhaps your digestion is not as good as it could be and you're just putting up with it? Get in touch with your questions or read more about one-to-one nutritional therapy consultations here.