Join me on my quest for optimal health and graceful ageing by holding onto the vitality, energy and enthusiasm that I had in my 20’s and 30’s. By making smart lifestyle choices, to be the best that I can be, my quest for well-being knows no limits.
I was reading an article recently by anti-aging luminary Dr. Mercola entitled, ‘Your greatest weapon against breast cancer is NOT mammograms’. Of course this spiked my interest, and although I know that mammograms will not prevent breast cancer, I wondered what this greatest weapon might be. Before sharing it however, let me give you the latest information I have on mammograms.
Controversy over Mammograms
A new study in the British Medical Journal (December 2011) confirmed that breast cancer screening may cause women more harm than good. The study highlights losses in quality of life from false positive results and unnecessary treatment. It is documented that Mammogram Radiation is much more damaging than a chest x-ray. You can get as much radiation from one mammogram as you would from 1,000 chest x-rays. Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, which can lead to a dangerous spread of cancerous cells. For me prevention is my main objective, which brings me to what Dr. Mercola calls the “greatest weapon against breast cancer.”
Strong Immunity, The Best Defence Mechanism Against Breast Cancer
There is loads of sound scientific evidence supporting the theory that your own immune system is your best cancer weapon. The strength of your immune system is a major factor in determining whether or not you will beat breast cancer, once you have it. Apparently nearly all of us have cancerous and pre-cancerous cells in our body by middle age, but it depends on the robustness of our immune system as to whether or not cancer will develop.
Role Of Vitamin D In Fighting Cancer
Another excellent way to strengthen our immune system is by optimizing our Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in our body. It is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. It regulates everything from your immune system, hormone balance to bone density and even slows aging.
Vitamin D Deficiency, The New Epidemic
Deriving from exposure to sunlight, you would think in this part of the world with its year round sunshine that we would all boast mega levels. Not so as many are sun phobic and because of this we now have an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency. To counteract this we need a 15-20 minutes per day exposure to the sun in the time of prime UV-B rays, which is between 10am and 2pm daily with 40 percent of our bodies exposed. Getting your Vitamin D serum levels tested is simple and a test which be done with your regular GP.
Vitamin D Serum Levels
In order to help prevent a variety of diseases and health ailments Vitamin D levels should be between 50-70 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) year round. Apparently for treating cancer and heart disease the recommendation is 70-100ng/ml. If your levels are below 40ng/ml, 8,000IU’s of oral Vitamin D3 is recommended. It is best to take an oil based supplement as it is better absorbed by your body.
My Nutritional Tip
Many people seem to struggle to eat their protein without adding condiments and sauces, it is advisable however, to always choose healthy home-made condiments. Below are a list of the ones NOT so healthy, followed by a list of healthier guilt free options.
- Mayonnaise – Supermarket mayonnaise contains sugar, modified starch and flavourings, just to name a few; all ingredients we should be avoiding. If you fancy mayonnaise, make your own with olive oil, it’s easy or buy organic options.
- Ketchup – Although rich in the highly beneficial nutrient lycopene, ketchup is full of sugar and there are a lot of brands using high fructose corn syrup, which should be avoided. I know ketchup is probably the hardest condiment to give up but use it sparingly.
- Barbeque Sauce – This is a sauce which has even more sugar than ketchup plus all of the other artificial flavourings.
- Salad Dressing – Store bought salad dressings are generally very unhealthy particularly the ‘fat free’ or ‘low fat’ versions as these are just loaded with more sugar. Make your own dressing using extra virgin olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar and keep it in a jar in the fridge. It is infinitely tastier than the junk food option.
My Nutritious Kitchen Staples
- Mustard – This is safe as it has no added sugar and the seed itself is a powerful anti-oxidant. Most yellow mustards also contain turmeric and paprika, which are both powerful antioxidants. I love the grainy variety for a greater texture.
- Guacamole – Provided you go with a fresh or homemade guacamole, this is extremely healthy as avocados contain healthy fats which satisfy your appetite, lots of fibre and plenty of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
- Salsa – Superbly versatile, Salsa gives the benefits of the tomatoes plus other vegetables without the added sugar. This is a perfect alternative for ketchup lovers. Again homemade is best or if store bought, check that it does not contain added sugars and flavourings.
- Hummus – We have no shortage of this in our region and it is delicious on anything or even by itself. Veggie sticks and hummus has got to be one of my favourite all-time snacks. Keep in mind with any of the above, if store bought, read the label carefully. We all know added sugar isn’t good, but beware, if there are ingredients which you cannot pronounce, or do not know the meaning of, putting them back on the shelf is the way to go. Don’t get addicted to convenience foods at the cost of your well-being.