Cancer

Birth Control Pills may increase Chance of Breast Cancer

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More than 10 million American women use birth control pills. They are the go-to contraceptive not only for pregnancy prevention, but also for PMS symptoms, heavy periods, and acne. Previous studies have suggested that birth control pills increase breast cancer risk, and the most recent research strengthens this relationship.

Birth Control Pills: A Known Carcinogen

Birth control pills join tobacco, asbestos, plutonium, and diesel exhaust as a group 1 carcinogen according to the World Health Organization. This means birth control pills are “a known and probable cancer-causing agent to humans.”

The latest study published in the August 2014 edition of the journal Cancer Research confirms the finding of past birth control/cancer studies. Researchers studied 1,102 women with breast cancer, along with 21,952 controls, and found that recent oral contraceptive use—particularly high-dose estrogen birth control pills—increased breast cancer risk by more than 50%. Birth control pills with ethynodiol diacetate (a type of progestin) also raised breast cancer risk by more than double, while triphasic birth control pills (pills that deliver different hormone doses over three stages of the monthly cycle) more than tripled breast cancer risk! Not all birth control pills fared so badly, however. Low-dose estrogen birth control pills did not seem to increase breast cancer risk.

An open pack of birthcontrol pills on a white background with shallow depth of field

Birth control pills block pregnancy by delivering a mix of estrogen and progestin hormones to your body. But these same hormones also over-stimulate breast cancer cells, which increases breast cancer risk. Dr. Angela Lanfranchi writes in her booklet on Breast Cancer Risks and Prevention:

“Estrogen can cause cancers in two ways. First, estrogen acts as a “mitogen.” Estrogen stimulates your breast tissue to increase cell divisions (mitoses). This sometimes results in cancers due to errors in cell division (mutations). Second, certain metabolites of estrogen also act as carcinogen or genotoxins, by directly damaging DNA, thereby causing cancer cells to form.”

Your risk for breast cancer further increases if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, you or a family member have had a biopsy that showed abnormal cells, or you carry an abnormal breast cancer gene.

If you are currently taking birth control pills, consider a safer method of contraception, such as the use of a diaphragm and/or condom. If you insist on taking birth control pills, then make sure you are on a low-dose estrogen pill.

 

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Aronia Berry – The Exotic Fruit Right At Home

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Chances are you’ve seen headlines about various exotic super berries with astounding health benefits, such as the acai from the Amazon… the maquiaroniaberry from Patagonia and the goji berry from China.  These berries from around the world have all made headlines in recent years for their remarkable healing properties.

Little do most people know, however, that there is a far lesser known North American berry about to stake it’s claim as a truly remarkable super berry: Aronia.

Off the Charts Antioxidant Power!

Aronia berries are rich in anthocyanins, the substance that gives this fruit its deep shade of purple.  Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation and levels of C-reactive protein, a byproduct of inflammation.  If left unchecked, inflammation is the spark to many chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Aronia berries are also high in plant-based super-antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that help boost circulation by strengthening capillary walls and act as an overall tonic for the cardiovascular system.

Proanthocyanins also suppress enzyme breakdown of collagen and alleviate allergies.

Full-Body Health Benefits

The aronia berry also possesses extreme anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-diabetic properties… This fights arterial plague formation… reduces serum cholesterol, shields the liver and kidneys from toxins, lowers blood sugar and balances insulin production.  Enriched with flavonoids, the aronia berry also protects against peptic ulcers, eye inflammation and urinary infection.

Cancer Protection

The aronia berry has shown exciting promise as an anti-cancer agent.  Research suggests aronia berries may help defend against tumor formation in the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries, and skin. Preliminary studies indicate that the berry may even slow the progression of glioblastona, a lethal form of brain cancer.

New Berry on the Block!
Aronia has been commercially cultivated in Russia since the 1940s and in aroniaEurope since the 1950s.  But it wasn’t until 2009 that the Midwest Aronia Association formed in Iowa in order to provide information and other resources to those interested in growing this super-healthy berry.  Now, the Association has members in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.  This means that if you don’t already have aronia products available on your local store shelves, you should soon (and in the meantime, you can also look online for internet retailers).

When it comes to choosing a quality product, you’ll be glad to know that aronia berries are naturally pest-resistance and need no agricultural toxins.  That said, you should still look for bushels stamped with the USDA organic certification label to make sure you’re benefitting from 100% pure antioxidant advantage.

Boost Immunity with Shiitake Mushrooms

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Native to Asia, shiitake mushrooms are packed with vitamins and minerals and have been cultivated for thousands of years for culinary and medicinal purposes. The latest research published April 11 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition confirms that shiitake mushrooms boost immunity.1380268871


Strengthen Your Immune System with Shiitake

Researchers from the University of Florida gave 52 healthy adults between the ages of 21 and 42 a four-week supply of dried shiitake mushrooms. Participants then ate one 4-ounce serving of shiitake mushrooms every day for four straight weeks. Researchers controlled for several variables:

  • No vegans are vegetarians were studied
  • Subjects could not drink tea or take antioxidant vitamins or probiotics before the study
  • Participants were instructed to limit alcohol to 14 or fewer glasses per week so that immune-enhancing activity wasn’t adversely impacted
  • Volunteers were allowed no more than 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

At the end of four weeks participants displayed better gamma delta T-cells and fewer inflammatory proteins.

Lead researcher Sue Percival explains: “If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial. We’re enhancing the immune system, but we’re also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces.”

Fight Cancer with Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are also celebrated for their cancer-fighting properties. They are rich in the polysaccharide lentinan, which scientists have isolated and used to treat various cancers, including stomach cancer. In addition to its anti-tumor properties, lentinan has also been shown to protect the liver, alleviate stomach problems like gallstones and ulcers, and help treat anemia. In fact, shiitake mushrooms are one of the most bioavailable sources of iron.

In short, shiitake mushrooms are an antiviral, antibacterial, 051069065-mushroom-saute_xlgand antifungal powerhouse that can even help protect against atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease when eaten regularly. An easy way to start adding shiitake to your diet is to use it to create a base for soups or stocks for making rice or quinoa. Add in some nuts, peppers, chicken, or tofu, along with your favorite seasonings

Pomegranates fight Aging and More

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The bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds of the pomegranate (Punica Granatum) have a long history of use as a medicine, particularly in the Middle East, India, and China.  The Chinese and South Africans use it to treat inflammation, rheumatism, irregular uterine bleeding and hemorrhaging, and abdominal pain.

In Unani medicine (a traditional practice of medicine in south-Asian countries and the Middle East), pomegranate is prescribed as a food supplement to treat diabetes.  Due to its potent antimicrobial properties, pomegranate has even been used to treat intestinal worms.Pomegranate_Image

Now, research is revealing the extract’s promising antioxidant and anti-cancer potential.

Say “No” to Aging with Antioxidants 

Without enough antioxidants, your body can’t fight off free radical damage, and becomes vulnerable to aging and disease. Pomegranate delivers a powerhouse helping of antioxidants when consumed internally as well as applied topically. Pomegranate’s antioxidant activity is fueled by ellagitannin compounds (punicalagins and punicalins being the standouts). It’s also packed with vitamin C—40% of the recommended daily value, in fact! These antioxidants, along with gallic acid and catechin, help accelerate wound healing, as well as repair sun-damaged, aging skin.

Experts have discovered that pomegranate increases the longevity of fibroblasts (cells responsible for collagen and elastin production).  Collagen and elastin work together to give strength and support to your skin.  A Medical College of Virginia study showed that the oil from pomegranate seed extract helps boost collagen production, thereby thickening both the outer and inner layers of the skin. 

Other studies suggest that pomegranate seed extract may demonstrate a prohibitive influence on some forms of skin cancer.  Snacking on pomegranate seeds is one way to benefit, but if you’re interested in the skin-saving benefits, seek out pomegranate seed extract oil in stand-alone form, or as an added ingredient in your skin care products.

Show No Mercy to Cancer Cells
An anti-inflammatory compound in pomegranate and pomegranate seed extract called punicic acid has been shown not only to reduce the inflammation that causes joint pain and arthritis, but also to fight cancer.  A 2002 study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that pomegranate seed extract suppressed the growth of estrogen-dependent cancer cells in culture.  It also inhibited the ability of cancer cells to cross barriers and spread, and even increased apoptosis (cancer cell self-destruction).1082137839

A 2010 study in the International Journal of Oncology confirmed pomegranate’s influence on cancer cells, showing that cancer cell cultures treated with punicic acid experienced apoptosis at rates 91% higher than untreated cancer cells.  Research has shown that pomegranate seed extract effects prostate cancer in the same manner.  Pomegranate seed extract, along with pomegranate flower extract and pomegranate juice, has also shown promise in the treatment of colon cancer and leukemia.

Prevent Cancer doing Cardio

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Adding cardio to your life offers so much more than a trimmer waistline and a healthier heart.  According to recent results from German scientists, cardio is a very important step you can take to prevent cancer, diabetes and many other diseases.

Top 4 Cancer-Fighting Tips

  1. Keep your body mass index below 30
  2. Get 30 minutes of cardio exercise daily
  3. Eat a diet high in produce, grains and water
  4. Do not smoke

The German study reevaluated almost 25,000 subjects after eight years and found that those who made these four tips part of their daily life decreased their risk of disease by 78% overall and reduced their risk of cancer by 36%!

How Cardio Can Help Prevent Cancer and Other Diseases

The International Liver Congress presented research that discovered cardio drastically reduced your risk of liver cancer.  Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cardio1cancers, claiming almost 700,000 lives per year.  Patients at high-risk of developing HCC may be able to learn how to prevent cancer by adding regular exercise to their lifestyle.

Mice were given a high-fat diet and divided into separate groups.  Some were made to exercise 5 days a week for one hour and the others were sedentary.  100% of the sedentary mice developed tumors while 71% of the exercising mice developed tumors.  The tumors in the sedentary mice were also larger.

Duke University Medical Center discovered that women who have more cardio fitness when they are diagnosed with advanced breast cancer have a higher rate of survival compared to women with lower levels of fitness.  Median survival for healthy women was more than double that of the less fit women in the study.

“Fitness level may be an important biomarker of survival among cancer patients but the beautiful thing about fitness is that we can improve it with exercise training,” explained Lee Jones, PhD.  The cardio_965780university plans to continue testing to more specifically discover the link between cardio-pulmonary fitness and cancer survival rates.

Cancer and the Obesity Epidemic

Simple changes to your exercise regimen are proven to prevent disease, but the majority of Americans are not following the top four cancer-fighting tips.  Obesity is defined by the World Health Organization as having a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30.

Obesity in the United States is the highest in the world – as are the health problems that accompany it.

Obesity increases your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases and is considered a world-wide epidemic.

New York University professor of nutrition, Marion Nestle, PhD, explained, “We live in an environment that promotes overeating and sedentary behavior.  People cannot make healthy choices in an unhealthy environment.  The environment needs to improve in order to make it easier to do what we all know we need to do.”

Our bodies become addicted to the salt, fat and sugar added to the majority of our foods – and the food industry counts on those addictions for their bottom line.

It’s up to all of us to take control of our health.

Cardio improves your mood, boosts energy, helps you sleep better and increases libido – all while helping to prevent cancer and other serious diseases.

So take time for yourself, get moving, and learn how to prevent cancer before it starts.

Brussels Sprouts and their Anti- Cancer benefits

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Did You Know…that Brussels sprouts contain a substance that causes cancer cells to self-destruct? 

The idea of Brussels sprouts may not immediately set your taste buds tingling, but this vegetable’s health benefits are guaranteed to tantalize.  Brussels sproutsbrussel_sprouts_par_boiled contain more glucosinolates—a kind of anti-carcinogenic compound—than any other cruciferous vegetable.

 

Glucosimolates Fight Cancer
Glucosinolates are special phytonutrients that serve as the chemical source for a large number of cancer-protective substances.

All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, however, recent research indicates that the combination of compounds found in the Brussels sprout are especially potent and valuable.  The anti-cancer benefits of Brussels sprouts stem primarily from four specific glucosinolates: 

Glucoraphanin
Glucobrassicin
Gluconasturtiian
Sinigrin

Sinigrin, in particular, appears to cause cancer cells to self-destruct.

Of all the the studies on the Brussels sprout available in PubMed, the health research database at the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C., more than half connect it to cancer prevention.  Brussels sprouts provide nutrients that support the three processes in your body most intricately involved in cancer development—and cancer prevention:

  • Detoxification
  • Antioxidant deployment
  • Anti-inflammatory activity

Chronic issues with any of the above processes increase your risk of cancer.  When malfunctions occur simultaneously, your risk of cancer increases substantially.

Sprouts Prevent a Multitude of Cancers and Stop DNA Damage 

Research so far shows Brussels sprout intake can decrease your risk of bladder cancer… colon cancer… prostate cancer… ovarian cancer… breast cancer… and lung cancer.  Evidence from a study conducted in the Netherlands points to a possible reason for the
Brussels sprout’s broad-spectrum cancer protection.  It appears the sprouts keep the body cancer-free by protecting DNA from damage.

For the three-week study, researchers analyzed the effect of Brussels sprouts on two groups of healthy men.  One group ate 300 grams of Brussels sprouts each health-052512-002-617x416day, while the other group ate a diet devoid of all cruciferous vegetables.  Testing at the end of the study showed the daily dose of Brussels sprouts led to a 28% decrease in measured DNA damage.

Your Daily Dose of Vitamin A Through Zinc 

Along with anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates, Brussels sprouts provide a wealth of other nutrients.  They offer significant quantities of crucial nutrients, including…

FolateManganeseCholine

Copper

PotassiumMagnesiumPantothenic acidCalcium

Phosphorus

Zinc

Brussels sprouts are also good source of vitamin A, vitamin B2 and B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K.  In addition to all that, they deliver your daily dose of fiber and protein, with a side of disease-fighting phytochemicals.

The World’s Healthiest Food 

To extract maximum health benefits, experts recommend that you steam your Brussels sprouts.  The George Mateljan Foundation, which runs The World’s Healthiest Foods site, recommends this Five-Minute Method:

“Fill the bottom of a steamer pan with two inches of water.  If Brussels sprouts are cut into quarters, steam for 6 minutes.  If you have chopped them into smaller pieces, steam for five minutes.”  When perfectly cooked, the sprouts should have a “crisp, dense texture” and a bright, “green,” mild sweetness.

Citrus Fruits and Tea Can Help Lower Ovarian Cancer

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New research reveals that women who consume foods containing flavonols and flavanones (two forms of dietary flavonoids) cut their risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.  This is amazingly good news for women, because ovarian cancer is currently the 5th leading cause of cancer death among women.  About 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

OCC2

An Extremely Deadly Cancer 

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers affecting women.  One of the reasons this type of cancer is so terribly dangerous is that it is nearly impossible to detect early.  Only about 19% of ovarian cancer is diagnosed before the cancer has spread, after which point treatment is usually not effective.

Making matters worse is the fact that the ovaries are tiny organs located deep within the abdominal cavity.  This makes it extremely difficult to pinpoint symptoms specific to the ovaries.  Sadly, such symptoms are all too often mistaken for other far less serious health issues until it is simply too late.

The good news is that there are choices you or your loved ones can make to lower ovarian cancer risk.  Most recently, scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) discovered that tea and citrus fruits and juices can lower ovarian cancer risk.

How Tea and Citrus Prevent Ovarian Cancer 

The UEA study followed the dietary habits of 171,940 women between the ages of 25 and 55 for more than three decades.  The research team found that those who consumed food and drinks high in flavonols were less likely to develop ovarian cancer.

Flavonols are found in…drinking-tea-woman2

  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Apples
  • Grapes

Consumption of flavanones was also associated with lower incidence of ovarian cancer.

Flavanones are found in …

  • Citrus fruits
  • Citrus juices

Iced-Citrus-and-Gin-Green-Tea

Two Cups A Day
The consumption of just two cups of black tea every day was associated with a whopping 31% reduction in ovarian cancer risk.  Black tea also slashes your risk of diabetes.  A study of elderly people living in the Mediterranean islands showed that people who consumed 1-2 cups of black tea a day had a 70% lower chance of having or developing Type 2 diabetes.


A Groundbreaking Study 

The UEA study was the first large-scale study to examine how the substances in black tea and citrus fruits and juices affect the risk of ovarian cancer.  The study’s authors concluded that very simple and inexpensive changes in food intake could have a drastic effect on reducing ovarian cancer risk.