November is Lung Cancer awareness month, so it’s a good time to think about the health of our lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. We all know not smoking and avoiding exposure to pollutants can help protect our lungs, but sometimes we take our lungs for granted. Here are some simple lifestyle choices we can make that are associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer:
- Exercise: Moderate exercise lowers the risk of lung cancer according to several studies.
- Limit Fat: A high-fat dietincreases the risk of lung cancer.
- Fruit: Diets high in fruit are associated with a lower risk of lung cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, foods high in flavonoids, such as apples, can lower the risk of lung cancer by 50 percent.
- Dairy products and vegetables: Both have been linked with a lower risk of lung cancer in women who smoke.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Studies show that cruciferous vegetable intake (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and kale) is inversely associated with lung cancer risk.
- Tea: Black tea has been linked with a lower risk of lung cancer in non-smokers, while green tea appears to decrease oxidative DNA damage in smokers, and may reduce the risk of cancer as well.
- Lutein: Foods high in lutein such as collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and orange juice are associated with a lower risk of lung cancer.
- Lycopene: Foods high in lycopene such as tomatoes and especially tomato sauces, are linked with a lower risk of lung cancer.
- Vitamin D: Recent studies have also shown that Vitamin D may be an important factor in reducing the risk of lung cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, as well as certain food sources such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks, as well as vitamin D supplements.
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