Lifestyle really does matter

June 18, 2008 at 12:49 am 1 comment

“If we grew thinner, exercised regularly, avoided diets rich in red meat (substituting poultry, fish or vegetable sources of protein) and ate diets rich in fruits and vegetables, and stopped using tobacco, we would prevent 70 percent of all cancers.”

Wow!  That’s one bold statement in the first paragraph of Newsweek’s Your Lifestyle, Your Genes and Cancer.  It’s the kind of statement that requires one to pause and absorb.  Seventy percent… think about that: preventing seventy percent of all cancers is a BIG deal.

Research just keeps confirming that the American lifestyle is harmful to our collective health – especially when you consider that healthy populations moving here and adopting our habits see their rates of illness increase to match ours.

The bottomline is that our dietary choices and lack of activity are killing us.  We’ve finally accepted that when it comes to tobacco, but we’re only just now recognizing it in relation to weight and exercise.

I’ve never quite understood how this works but apparently:

“Lifestyle influences a person’s risk for cancer by generating growth-promoting signals that affect cells primed to become cancerous, or that already are cancerous. What primes those cells to become cancerous in the first place are changes in their genes.”

“…most of us are born with good genes that succeed in flawlessly organizing our growth and development. After all, our genes have been optimized by more than 600 million years of evolution; they ought to work well. During the course of our lifetimes, though, genes are damaged in various cells throughout the body. It is these mutated genes that drive most cancers.”

The article explores the science of this thoroughly, beyond what I can comprehend, but much of it seems to come down to minimizing inflammation through a healthy diet and mitigating the by-products of inflammation by exercising.

I exercise regularly already (although I could always do more), so I feel pretty solid on that score.  But, my diet continues to need significant refinement.  I’ve been reasonably focused on clean eating, but I think it’s time to revist my Ultra Prevention and Ultrametabolism books.  These books focus intensively on inflammation and ways to avoid it.  The authors have also published a cookbook to help with recipe prep.  I was impressed when I first read Ultra Prevention, but I was also overwhelmed.  I’ve done much more cooking now and gone more in-depth into clean eating, so I think I might be better able to tackle it this time around.

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Entry filed under: clean eating, diet recommendations, health, news around the blogosphere, science.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. SOG knives  |  July 19, 2008 at 9:04 am

    SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

    Reply

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