Although the importance of nutrition for physical well-being has been known since ancient times, it often only plays a subordinate role in modern society. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the best prevention is 80 percent lifestyle including diet, 10 percent acupuncture, and 10 percent herbal medicine. This is of course only one approach, but the number of scientific articles and findings on the positive effects of nutrition and lifestyle on health and on cancer prevention has also increased continuously in recent years.
A good lifestyle takes into account how carefully we live our daily lives, how we get up in the morning, what we eat and many other factors such as exercise, dealing with work and other people, family ties, faith and religion, fear and attitude towards illness and death . And of course how we go to sleep in the evening.
Scientists from Harvard University (USA) found that up to ten years of life can be gained if you live healthy in your 50s. How it works? Through risk-minimizing factors, people have the influence in their own hands. It is a well-known fact that people who live a healthy life develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or cancer much later.
The US scientists defined the following lifestyle factors as a measure of a healthy lifestyle:
- never smoker
- BMI 18,5–24,9 kg/m2
- daily exercise (≥ 30 min)
- quality nutrition
- moderate alcohol consumption (women 5–15 g/day, men 5–30 g/day)
If four of the five lifestyle factors were taken into account, the average disease-free life expectancy was 31.1 years. And that with a study group of 50-year-old Americans. Diet probably plays the most important role in the area of lifestyle factors.
Food for health
Cancer is a widespread disease that puts a strain on those affected, their families and the entire healthcare system. This disease often causes complete upheavals in the patient’s life as well as enormous economic costs for society. However, around 50% of global cases could be avoided through improved individual lifestyle. Therefore, in particular, the balanced diet needs a new
assigned importance in order to protect health and prevent diseases.
One of the most important organizations in the field of cancer prevention through nutrition and lifestyle is the internationally active WCRF (World Cancer Research Fund). A lifestyle that follows the WCRF recommendations promotes cancer prevention and thus health. A mindful lifestyle enables the avoidance of cancer and other chronic diseases (non-communicable diseases; NCDs). Although almost everyone knows that cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in Germany (with about 25% in second place), only a fraction of the population adheres to scientifically evaluated recommendations.
These 10 WCRF recommendations help reduce your own risk of cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight / stay slim
- Lots of exercise
- Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains
- Reduce fast food and soft drinks
- Reduce red and processed meat
- Little alcohol
- No nutritional supplement
- Do not smoke
- For mothers: breastfeed if possible
- Go to the doctor, follow recommendations after diagnosis
(Counseling Center for Nutrition Munich 2019)
There is an urgent need to make cancer prevention a more social issue. Healthy diet and lifestyle measures should be promoted. Because the topic of nutrition is also a central aspect in life. Supporting treatment, regaining energy, maintaining health after therapy, enjoying cooking and eating despite limitations… the list of meanings for everyday life with cancer is long.
Gynecology and nutrition
Gynecologists look after women of all ages and are the only group of specialists who have the opportunity to positively influence the health of their patients in every phase of life. Ideally, education about healthy eating, obesity and the consequences begins during the girls’ consultation.
Traditionelle chinesische Medizin, Dr. med. Georg Weidinger
Li Y et al. BMJ 2020; 368: l6669;
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