5 Cancer FAQs – Answered!

Navigating the world of cancer can feel like walking through a house of mirrors. Trick corners, dead ends…and the overwhelming feeling that you just don’t recognize yourself any more.

Ever looked into multiple squiggly mirrors at once?

Walking in the world of cancer information misleading as walking in a house of mirrors

Image source: www.pinterest.com

Yeah, something like that.

Continue reading…

Sticky
October 24, 2016

4 Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Cancer

Happy Monday, Grazers!

If you haven’t already heard, we’re in the midst of a fight.

Woman wearing boxing gloves

Image source: http://www.gettyimages.com/

The Amazin’ Fight against Breast Cancer kicked off last week – and we need your help. All you have to do is enjoy some limited edition Pink Raspberry Granola, and a donation will be made towards breast cancer screening and prevention. It’s an absolutely delicious way to give back! Click HERE to learn more and get in on the fight now!

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Fighting cancer is certainly a team effort – but it’s important not to lose sight of our individual fights against cancer. It’s time to take responsibility for our health, and do what we can for our bodies to keep cancer at bay.

In our last post we talked about foods that can help with preventing cancer, when taken as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. This week, we discuss what this healthy lifestyle looks like, with 4 lifestyle changes that have been shown to be effective in preventing cancer.

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Image source: www.usfa.fema.gov

Stay away from cigarette smoke

Time and again, research has shown that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption. Smoking is not just linked to lung cancer, but to cancers of the larynx, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, and cervix. That’s a lot of possible cancers linked to one risk factor.

With evidence like that, there’s no need to mince words. If you smoke, quit. People who quit smoking, even after many years of active smoking, immediately increase their life expectancy, even if cancer does develop. It’s never too late.

If you don’t actively smoke, pay attention to your secondhand smoke intake. It may be as simple as insisting on sitting in the non-smoking area of a restaurant, or making the effort to move when you’re seated close to someone who is smoking. Remember, what goes into your body is nobody’s responsibility but your own!

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Image source: www.pinterest.com

Eat well

When discussing cancer prevention, it’s impossible to steer away from the topic of a healthy diet. In general, a good rule of thumb is to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – the more colourful the better. As we mentioned in our previous blog post, the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colour are incredibly valuable antioxidants. Interestingly, research has shown that the same benefits can’t be obtained from antioxidant supplements (e.g. in the form of pills) – they’re only effective when consumed in their whole food form.

Another good rule to follow is to eat fresh foods whenever possible – especially when it comes to meat. Processed meats (like deli meat, sausages, nuggets, etc) have been linked to cancer development – plus, they’re usually also full of unhealthy fats and excessive salt, which isn’t good for our bodies anyway. Eating fresh also applies to local cuisine, with some research linking preserved foods like salted vegetables (kiam chai) and salted fish (ikan masin) to cancer development­, whereas the fresh versions of these foods are nutritious and should be included in a balanced diet.

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Image source: Colorado.gov

Get moving

In case we needed more proof of how exercise is good for our bodies (we don’t) – exercise has been shown to protect against colon and breast cancers (among others). For one, exercise helps in keeping body weight in a healthy range, as well as maintaining lean muscle mass. However, it is thought that exercise also plays a far more complex role in cancer prevention – regulating hormones and metabolism, calming inflammation, and boosting immunity.

And if you’re thinking exercise is only needed for those looking to lose weight, think again! Studies on physical activity and cancer prevention show that the greatest benefit is actually seen in people who are already at a normal weight range. So regardless of your baseline weight or activity level, get moving to protect your body against cancer! A little activity can go a long way – although the more you exercise (longer times and higher intensity), the stronger the protective effect!

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Image source: Palm Beach Illustrated

Use sunscreen

In a sunny tropical climate like ours, it is remarkable that sunscreen is not a natural part of many people’s daily routines. However much we try to stay out of the blazing sun, exposure to UV rays is inevitable given that UV rays can travel through clothing, windows, and clouds (which means UV exposure even on rainy days!). It is this exposure to UV rays that can cause damage and aging of the skin, and eventually lead to skin cancer.

And so, it’s time to break out the sunscreen, and use it on all exposed skin – not just on our faces. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 15. You can also look for umbrellas that have inbuilt UV protection, and use them when walking outdoors, especially between mid-morning and late afternoon, when UV radiation is at its highest.

UV rays, important cause of skin cancer

Image source: www.iwallhd.com

So there you have it – 4 simple lifestyle changes that can help to protect against cancer. No matter what your baseline risk, take the steps today to change your life – don’t give cancer the chance to change it for you!

Have a great week, Grazers!

Sticky
October 18, 2016

5 Foods for Cancer Prevention

These days, it seems like everyone knows someone who has battled cancer.

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Image source: quotesgram.com

It’s scary – and understandably so. With stories of struggles with cancer seemingly everywhere, the question on everyone’s minds is:

“What can be done?”

We can feel powerless in the face of cancer. It can feel like something beyond our control, coming down to our genetics, gender, environment, or age. It can feel like cancer looms in the shadows, unpredictable and unavoidable.

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Image source: www.photos-public-domain.com

But this is not true. Cancer can be avoided, and it can be fought. And it can be defeated.

According to the WHO, about a third of cancer deaths are due to the risk factors of an unhealthy lifestyle. These include a high BMI, an imbalanced diet, a sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse.

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Image source: thelifesquare.com

Instead of focusing on the things you can’t change, change the things you can. You have the power to control these risk factors. And in the war against cancer, every little bit counts. Your best strategy to win the war is a healthy lifestyle – and your best weapon is delicious, nutritious food.

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Image source: www.nutritionhealthyfood.com

No single food is a miracle cure or shield against cancer. But these 5 foods, taken in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, have been proven to work against cancer in numerous valuable ways.

Organic Whole Grains

Image source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Whole Grains

Grains are a staple of the Asian diet – and whole grains are a staple in cancer prevention. Packed with tummy-filling fiber, whole grains are valuable in weight management, which directly tackles one of the risk factors of cancer (a high BMI). The fiber in whole grains is also needed for digestive health and reducing the risk of cancers of the digestive tract. Lastly, whole grains are full of special phytonutrients (plant nutrients) which are thought to play a role in cancer prevention.

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Image source: www.meteoprog.pl

Berries

Vibrant, beautiful berries are perfect for Pinterest, and even better for your body. Their bright colours come from anthocyanins – colour pigments that function as antioxidants. These antioxidants, when consumed, prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer. Berries have also been found to affect the genes in some cells, enabling them to reduce inflammation and restrict the growth of cancer cells.

Assortment of cabbages

Image source: cfaes.osu.edu

Cruciferous Vegetables

Don’t be put off by the long name – ‘cruciferous’ just refers to a family of vegetables whose leaves grow in layers. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kalian, and bok choy. Vegetables from this family have been shown to be protective against lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. The colour pigments that give these vegetables their white and dark green colours also protect against cancer by limiting the growth and multiplication of cancer cells, as well reducing inflammation in the body.

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Image source: www.livescience.com

(Naturally) Orange Foods

If you’re seeing a colour theme starting to develop, you’re on to something! Natural colours in foods are a good indication of their nutrition – and the yellow-orange-red group of foods is no different. Think carrots, oranges, cantaloupe, tomatoes, capsicum..the list goes on. The pigment responsible for the colours in these foods is called carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A and plays an important role in developing a strong immune function. They are also packed with phytonutrients which function as antioxidants, again protecting the body against cell damage which can lead to cancer.

 

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Image source: www.npr.org

Oily Fish

Salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, and so on are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to play a role in heart health, brain development, and treating inflammatory conditions like arthritis, infection, and yes, cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids function as potent antioxidants, and help to maintain precious muscle mass, which in turn improves cancer outcomes. They have been shown to be especially effective against liver, colon, and breast cancers.

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Image source: oakparkacupuncture.com.au

And there you have the answer to the question “What can be done?” It may not be a 100% guarantee – but it is certainly worth the chance to reduce your risk of cancer (or improve outcomes when treating cancer). Better yet, you get to enjoy some naturally delicious food along the way.

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Image source: www.wikihow.com

So pick up your fork and spoon and get ready for the fight against cancer! Happy Grazing!

Sticky
October 10, 2016

5 Foods That Can Boost Breast Milk Production

As a new mom, the idea that you are your baby’s world can be exhilarating, gratifying – and absolutely terrifying. You dream big dreams for your little one, and would give anything to make sure they are happy, healthy, and well taken care of.

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Image source: www.parents.com

This desire is good and natural, but it can also be immensely stressful. This is especially so for the process of breastfeeding, which has been given much emphasis as the best form of nutrition for babies in their first 6 months of life. Although the benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable, it remains a common struggle for many new mothers, though not one often discussed openly.

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Image source: authoritynutrition.com

Perhaps the lack of time or support gets in the way of breastfeeding. Or perhaps your body just isn’t producing milk the way you hoped it would. This can be frustrating because it represents an apparent lack of control over something so important. Brands of clothes or diapers can be chosen at will, but the amount of milk your body produces at any given time…may not be that easy to dictate.

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Image source: www.babycenter.com

But there’s hope. Support systems and resources are just a Google click away. And research is increasingly looking into simple, effective ways to help a mother increase her supply of milk. The simplest (and tastiest!) of these ways is through the use of food.

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Image source: www.stltoday.com

Here are 5 easy foods that can boost breast milk production – and are good for you, too!

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Image source: www.muscleandfitness.com

Oats

Oatmeal, granola, oat cookies..the possibilities are endless! Besides stimulating milk production, oats are also packed with fiber, which is good for digestive health and for your heart. It is still unclear why oats increase milk production – but, as they’re good for you, can be easily added to your regular diet, and are absolutely delicious (especially in granola form!), they’re certainly worth a try.

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Image source: www.eatthis.com

Nuts

Nuts are more than just a crunchy addition to your diet – they contain an abundance of healthy fat that is good for your heart (and the creaminess of your milk!). They also contain many essential amino acids, one of which is needed for the regulation of mood. Thus, nuts can combat stress and low mood, which are well-known disruptors of milk supply. Grab a handful of raw nuts, mix some into your oatmeal (double milk booster!) or pick up a tasty nut mix as a quick snack.

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Image source: shareably.net

Garlic

Pungent, savory garlic is added to food worldwide to enhance the flavours in various dishes – and it functions in much the same way in your breast milk. It has been shown that the garlicky flavour is passed into the milk, which babies seem to enjoy. The increased amount and frequency of sucking introduces extra stimulation which is thought to also increase lactation. So throw some extra garlic into your favourite dishes – just make sure your toothbrush is on hand afterwards!

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Image source: wildalaskasalmonandseafood.com

Salmon

Salmon is often touted as a healthy food for everyone, thanks to its excellent content of quality protein and essential fatty acids. One of these fatty acids, DHA, is known to play a critical role in the development of babies’ brains – and the more DHA a mother consumes, the more DHA is in her breast milk. Salmon also appears to increase breast milk production, although the reason behind this is still unknown. However, it is recommended that no more than 2-3 servings of salmon a week be consumed due to its possible mercury content.

 

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Image source: www.recipeshubs.com

Water (and milk!)

Breast milk, like other milks, is 88% water. Thus, it is unsurprising that dehydration is one of the leading causes of poor milk production. In a tropical climate especially, dehydration can set in quickly and without many outward symptoms. To prevent dehydration, be conscious of your water consumption and drink at least 1.8-2 L of fluids daily. Download a water tracking app to keep you on track throughout the day. And, be sure to include calcium-containing beverages (like milk, fortified soymilk, or other fortified drinks) to make sure you and baby both get the calcium you need for strong bones and teeth!

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Image source: www.wisegeek.com

Try these simple foods out if you’re concerned about your breast milk supply. Alone or in combination (think granola and milk topped with nuts, or a salmon garlic stir-fry), these foods are delicious and good for you, besides having the potential to boost lactation.

And don’t forget to take a deep breath, relax, and remember – you’re doing the best you can, and the love you have for your baby is the best gift you have to give.

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Image source: www.eccentricowl.com

In celebration of the boundless love of mothers everywhere, we’ve created a special Lavender Honey Granola for Mother’s Day! Warm, sweet, and nourishing – just like a mother. Join us in #feedingmom the best nature has to offer this Mother’s Day!

Sticky
October 04, 2016