Professor Ian Hampson, Ravan Bio Laboratories
Problems with diet and nutrition cause up to 25% of cancers worldwide. Obesity, stemming from poor diet and lack of physical activity, accounts for
approximately 15% of all cancers and about 5% of cancers are attributable to alcohol abuse, with another 5% to specific dietary factors such as consumption of ultra-processed food, over-indulgence in red meat, saturated fat, etc.
All these factors also accelerate the ageing process which in turn increases the risk of cancer. The most alarming thing about these cancer statistics is that they are entirely preventable by simple changes in lifestyle. Indeed, new cutting-edge research is discovering ways to slow down or even reverse the ageing process to prevent age-related cancers from occurring.
While 20th century infectious disease control has extended possible life expectancy in the developed countries, late-onset obesity and associated age-related cancers have increased incidence of at least twelve cancer types, which are cause for concern.
Indeed, it has also been shown that many conventional cancer treatments actually accelerate the ageing process leading to increased risk of disease recurrence or even second malignancies. This clearly highlights the
importance of research in the ageing process for cancer patients.
Ageing tissues cause increased cellular senescence which is a stress-response process whereby damaged cells stop growing permanently and produce pro-inflammatory changes, which can lead to cancer.
Cancer therapy, Nutritional deficiencies, obesity and lack of exercise all increases overall oxidative stress in the body which accelerates contributes to the ageing process from an early age.
Thus, optimising diet, using nutritional supplements and adequate physical exercise will slow down these pro-inflammatory changes leading to a
reduction in both age and therapy-related cancers.
You do not need to run to the nearest pharmacy for those essential nutritional supplements as a magic pill! They are laid out in every good greengrocer’s stall and supermarket.
Appetisingly bright and colourful superfoods are there, such as: healthy oils like extra virgin Olive oil; Oily fish; Eggs; Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Vegetables, Mushrooms, Spices, and fermented foods like live Yoghurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi.
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Photos by Jez Timms, Jamie Matacino, Reka Biro-Horvath. Unsplash.
Contributing Editor: Ian MacWatt