To Your Health
February, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 02)
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6. Sugar and Spice Is Nice

Irish researchers have determined that curcumin, an extract found in the curry spice turmeric, promotes death of cancer cells. In a lab model of esophageal cancer, Sharon McKenna, from Cork Cancer Research Centre at the University College Cork and Mercy University Hospital  (Ireland) and fellow researchers have found that curcumin, an extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric, causes the cells to digest themselves.

In an article in the October 2009 issue of the British Journal of Cancer, the team observed: "Curcumin can induce cell death by a mechanism that is not reliant on apoptosis induction, and thus represents a promising anticancer agent for prevention and treatment of oesophageal cancer." 

Another study suggests that certain compounds in pomegranate, a rich source of antioxidants, inhibit a liver enzyme and thus may confer beneficial effects against prostate cancer development. In a study led by Daneel Ferreira, from the University of Mississippi, researchers performed an in vitro experiment that found that two antioxidants present in pomegranates, punicalagins and punicalins, have the potential to inhibit a specific enzyme known to contribute to prostate cancer.

pomegranate juice - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 7. Live the Good Life

Duke University researchers confirm that there are indeed certain lifestyle behaviors that help prevent cancer. In a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference in Cancer Prevention Research in 2008, Igor Akushevich and colleagues reported an association between cigarette smoking with lung cancer, and that circulatory disease and diabetes increase the risk of breast cancer while immune diseases increase the risk of prostate cancer. (All three of these conditions have been linked, at least in some cases, to poor lifestyle behaviors including poor diet, lack of exercise, etc.) The researchers also found that moderate physical activity decreased cancer risk, particularly for colon and prostate cancer, and that general optimism in life was associated with a lowered cancer risk.

What's more, Earl Ford, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues studied data from 23,153 German men and women, ages 35 to 65 years, who participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. The researchers found that four lifestyle factors -- never smoking, body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less, exercising 3.5 hours a week, and eating a healthy diet - slashed the risk of cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, by a staggering 80 percent.

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle is important not only for reducing your risk of developing cancer, but also for protecting against numerous other life-robbing conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. So, how many of the seven anti-cancer behaviors mentioned in this article are a part of your regular routine? If the answer is less than seven, you're not doing all you can to protect yourself. It may not seem all that important now, but think how you'll feel if cancer strikes you or a member of your family. Why risk having that happen? Now is the time to improve your health and help ensure a long, healthy life free of cancer and other diseases.

Ronald Klatz, MD, is the president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging (, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of aging-related disease.

Robert Goldman, MD, is the chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging (, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of aging-related disease.