Excessive Fat

The average American diet contains about 34.1 percent of calories from fat. Animal experiments and human epidemiologic studies have revealed that this level of fat consumption may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly breast, colon, prostate, and possibly other cancers. Conversely, reducing fat intake lessens the risk of these cancers. High levels of fat, therefore, act as a tum or promoter. There is no exact explanation for the effects of a high-fat diet on increasing cancer risk, but some laboratory studies have reported that the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a chemical that is produced by lipids in the body, is greatly increased in animals that are fed a high-fat diet. High levels of PGE2 have been shown to impair the body’s’ immune system. Therefore, the amplified cancer risk brought about by a high-fat diet may be due to the suppression of the body’s defense system against cancer. High doses of vitamin E succinate may block some of the harmful effects of excessive fat consumption by reducing the action of PGE2 on cells. This does not mean that one should continue eating a high-fat diet and take large amounts of vitamin E; a high-fat diet may still heighten the risk of heart attack. The relationship between diet- and lifestyle related agents and cancer risk is listed below:

Probable dietary- and lifestyle-related causative agents and increased risk of cancer

• Excessive fat – prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, rectum cancer, pancreas cancer, kidney cancer
• Excess protein – breast cancer, endometrium cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, rectum cancer, pancreas cancer, kidney cancer
• Excess total calories – most cancers
• Alcohol – lung cancer, cervix cancer, larynx cancer, mouth cancer, esophagus cancer
• Excess caffeine/coffee – pancreas cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, mouth cancer, larynx cancer, bladder cancer
• Excess saccharine – bladder cancer
• Cadmium from diet or smoking – kidney cancer
• Excess zinc – all cancers, especially breast and stomach
• Iron deficiency – stomach and esophagus cancers
• Iodine deficiency – thyroid cancer
• Excess smoked meat or fish – stomach cancer
• Charcoal-broiled meat, pickled products – stomach cancer
• Cancer-causing viruses – liver, certain blood cancers, cervix cancer

A high-fat diet can raise the levels of circulating estrogen in females, and high levels of estrogen are known to act as a tumor promoter. In addition, the presence of large amounts of bile acids and fatty acids from a diet rich in fat may promote colon cancer, because these substances encourage the proliferation of cells in the colon. Increased cell proliferation make colon cells more sensitive to cancer formation. Dietary calcium inhibits this action of bile acids and fatty acids by making them insoluble and tendering them unavailable for absorption.

Drugged Driving

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed an increase in deaths from impaired driving crashes during the holiday season. The analysis states “fatalities associated with impaired driving, expressed as number of fatalities per day, are higher during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods as compared to fatalities during the other days in December.”

Of course, this serious issue requires year–round attention. In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol–impaired driving crashes and 1.4 million were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Make sure you and your loved ones get home safely and live to celebrate the new year:

Never drink and drive: Even 1 or 2 drinks affect your driving ability. Your best bet is not drinking or staying home.

Have a designated driver: Find a trustworthy person to drive home; then find ways to reward their generosity.

Drive defensively: If you’re driving, remain alert to other drivers and your surroundings on the road.

Don’t let friends drive drunk: Ignore your friend’s convincing pleas and talk them out of driving.

Take a taxi: Arrange for a cab or driving service; keep the contact info in your cell phone just in case.

The immune system and Antioxidants

The immune system is an important defense against invading foreign pathogenic microorganisms such as cancer-causing viruses and is essential for the healing of injured tissues. Foreign antigens and cell injury evoke an immune response that through a complex process, including acute inflammation, removes the pathogenic microbes and cellular debris. Newly formed cancer cells may acts as foreign agents that evoke an immune response, producing natural killer (NK) cells that can remove cancer cells from the body. If there are not enough NK cells, newly formed cancer cells can establish themselves in the body and grow.

Antioxidants in our body defend against damage produced by free radicals. Some antioxidants are made in the body, whereas others are consumed through a diet containing fruits and vegetables. Both dietary and endogenous antioxidants are essential for optimal health and cancer prevention. The biological half-lives of most micronutrients are highly variable; therefore, they should be taken twice a day to maintain steady levels of these micronutrients in the body. Most micronutrients are very sensitive to light and should be stored in the dark. In a solid form such as a tablet, most (except vitamin A) are stable at room temperature.

Most antioxidants at certain doses are considered safe; however, some, such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E, at high doses can be harmful after long-term daily consumption. The window of safety for selenium and vitamin A is very narrow. Selenium at high doses, for example, can cause cataracts. We believe that daily supplementation with a multiple-micronutrient preparation containing dietary and endogenous antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin D, and selenium (but not iron, copper, or manganese) should be useful for maintaining optimal health and for cancer prevention.

Although most adverse health events occur primarily from the consumption of certain herbs, the term dietary supplements includes both these herbs and antioxidants, which has created misunderstanding among the general public about the safety of antioxidants. However, vitamins A, C, and E and carotenoids, glutathione, R-alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and L-carnitine have had few reported adverse health events for decades, and these adverse health events only occur when these supplements are taken at very high doses.

Common Misconceptions about Cancer

During the past three decades, extensive research on antioxidants, diet, and cancer prevention and treatment has been published in peer-reviewed journals and gives an inconsistent message the public and health professionals regarding the value of antioxidants. Many popular magazines and books have also reported contradicting claims regarding the usefulness of antioxidants for maintaining good health and preventing or treating cancer.

Micronutrients include antioxidants, B vitamins, and certain minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc. Some antioxidants are made in the body, such as glutathione, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, and antioxidant enzyme. They are usually referred to as dietary antioxidants. Both endogenous and dietary antioxidants are absolutely essential for our growth and survival. In addition, antioxidants protect our bodies against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons that are formed as by-products whenever oxygen is used by cells. Free radicals can be derived from oxygen or nitrogen and are symbolized by a dot.

Free radicals are highly damaging chemicals that are produced in the human body. They are generated through the use of oxygen, in the course of bacterial or viral infection, and in the context of the normal metabolisms of certain compounds in the body. There are several types of free radicals in the body; some are derived from oxygen, whereas others are derived from nitrogen. Oxidative stress refers to a condition in which high levels of free radicals are produced, causing damage to the cells. Increased oxidative stress is one of the most important risk factors for cancer.

Cell injury caused by physical agents such as radiation, free radicals, chemical toxins, mechanical trauma, or infection initiates an important biological event called inflammation. While this is generally considered a protective response, it can act as double-edged sword. Inflammation is needed to kill invading harmful organisms and for the removal of cellular debris in order to facilitate the recovery process, but inflammation can also damage normal tissues by releasing a number of toxic chemicals. Acute inflammation may not be involved in the formation of cancer, but acute inflammation that occurs during radiation therapy or chemotherapy can damage both normal and cancer cells.

Snowshoeing for Winter Fitness

Looking to move more? Consider snowshoeing. Currently more than 1 million people snowshoe (a 60 percent increase in the last decade) – not a huge surprise when you consider that it’s a sport with practically no learning curve. What’s more, if you’re a veteran walker, it’s a great way to maintain your outdoor routine in the snowy months. Snowshoeing is a great total-body workout because using poles and wearing snowshoes force you to life your arms and legs higher than you would when walking.

Another Bonus? You’ll burn 40 percent more calories when snowshoeing than you would walking.

How they work?

Snowshoes act as a flotation device to help you walk or glide over snow. The shoes increase the area over which your weight is distributed so that your feet don’t sink into the snow. Just strap on a pair and walk on trails, in parks, or even down a snow-covered street. One rule of thumb: Snow must be at least 4 inches deep. Also, if you’re a beginner, use poles for help balancing as you walk.

What you need

1. Snowshoes Choose a women’s mode – the shoes are lightweight and built to accommodate a shorter walking stride. Prices start at $100

2. Poles

Snowshoe poles reduce wear and tear on the knees by distributing your weight to the upper body. Adjust the poles (all are adjustable) so that arms are bent 90 degrees on flat terrain. Prices start at $30.

Walkers, take note

Snowshoeing improves your coordination, balance, and endurance, so you’ll become a more fit walker. Here’s what you’ll do:

Strengthen your entire body, thereby boosting energy and endurance
Tone your hip flexors, thigh muscles, and butt, thanks to the lifting motion involved in taking each step
Build arm strength as a result of the swaying you’ll do to propel yourself forward

Your Fitness Gear Up

Why let a little snow keep you from your fitness goals? Get in gear with the stay-toasty workout wear.

1. Snow Warm

Out for a stroll or hitting the slopes? The fleece lining in these water-resistant pants will keep you warm and dry.

2. Hot Head

Hate itchy wool hats? This super-soft acrylic beanie will keep your head (and you!) warm when you hit the track or the ice rink.

3. Base layer

When you’re on the move, this fitted zipper-neck shirt pulls on and off easily. Plus, it’s lightweight enough to tie around your waist.

4. Toasty Toes

Lined waterproof boosts are a must for all-weather walkers; this model boasts extra traction on the soles to prevent slips.

5. Ear Gear
Try this take on ear warmers: The wraparound design is perfect if you’re walking to work because it won’t’ mess up your hair.