Studies suggest that people who eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich sources of antioxidants, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer. Because cancer survivors may be at increased risk for second cancers, they should eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods each day.
By Lavinia Rodriguez
Breast cancer awareness and October go together. And both of them go together with the general message I like to get across about weight management: “It’s not about weight. It’s about health!”
As a psychologist, I am acutely aware of patterns. One pattern of particular concern is the self-defeating one I see often: Too many people don’t address their health until there’s a medical crisis.
Here’s a closer look:
1. The person ignores, denies, rationalizes, procrastinates and resists taking steps to have a healthy lifestyle.
2. As years go by, the person ignores red flags showing that the negative consequences of not addressing their health are taking effect.
3. A medical crisis occurs and the person is advised by a physician to follow a healthy diet and exercise program.
4. The person starts trying to do something. (Sadly, some people skip this step altogether.)
Why is this pattern so common? It’s partly because of a psychological phenomenon we all share: It’s easier to be motivated about something if we perceive that there will be an immediate payoff rather than a future payoff even if the future payoff is greater than the immediate one.
We also have psychological defenses like denial. We all want to deny that something bad, like cancer, can happen to us, and that something we’re doing is making us more likely to get it.
In researching what is prescribed by the medical community today to prevent and treat cancer, I repeatedly found this advice: Follow a healthy lifestyle of nutritious eating and regular exercise.
The American Cancer Society says, “For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet, and physical activity. One-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year are linked to diet and physical activity, including being overweight or obese, while another third is caused by tobacco products.
“Studies suggest that people who eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich sources of antioxidants, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer. Because cancer survivors may be at increased risk for second cancers, they should eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods each day.”
Obesity has been linked to many types of cancers, a higher risk of certain cancers returning, and a worse survival rate for some cancers.
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