What if I told you that you can reduce your risk of cervical cancer in a fun 30 minutes?
If you engage in 30 minutes of exercise per week you are 2.5 times LESS likely to develop cervical cancer. Now who doesn’t have time for that?
Being a cancer patient myself I have been looking extensively into how I can take some responsibility for my own health and my own progress fighting this, the only way I know how – nutrition and exercise. The first bit of research I read said that a diet rich in Folic Acid is great for aiding prevention and promoting recovery, e.g. whole grains, breads, rice, cereals. Hallelujah, give me all the carbs. Alas, apparently white bread, rice pudding and coco pops didn’t count.
What you’re looking for if you want to fight or help reduce your risk here is fortified grains, still delicious but healthier. Look for whole grains and cereals fortified with folic acid and iron, of course spinach and other leafy greens are also a great source. Is there anything that spinach can’t do? Think colour when planning your meals - carotenoids are disease fighting, vision enhancing super pigments that give the colour to yellow, orange and red fruits and veg (also the reason we think carrots make us see in the dark). Not only are these wonderful things essential for good vision, they help prevent diseases of the eyes, deficiency diseases and are essential for human health.
So, Fall or not, start filling up on pumpkin, winter squash, oranges and sweet potatoes (unfortunately I was told that sweet potato fries aren’t the same – try making your own in the oven though with some coconut oil and a sprinkle of rosemary, even better!). Throw some cruciferous veg in there too – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower actually contain cancer fighting compounds, they’re like Mike Tyson to cancer cells! (I double checked his stats before using him as a reference here, ended his career 50-6, I like those odds). Fact of the day to take away – Broccoli is your best friend!
It’s a good idea to stay away from refined sugars as these affect your insulin control and promote inflammation within the body but if you, like me, have a bit of a sweet tooth then feel free to add a handful of berries to your breakfast or your smoothies or just as a snack. These are packed full of amazing antioxidants to help you punch back against any disease causing microbes in your body. Unfortunately limiting your caffeine intake is also a good idea to help your body fight diseases well, keep checking back on future blogs to see how I tackle life with less coffee!
If like mine your body has unfortunately already been taken hostage by cervical cancer cells then you can increase your intake of cold water fish, reduce animal fats, red meat and dairy as this will help control cancer cells and hopefully free your amazing body in the long run.
That’s the yummy bit, now for the fun bit
You might think that ’30 minutes of exercise per week’ sounds simple, just jump on the treadmill a bit or go to a few classes and you’re done. Technically yes but, there are some exercise styles that would be potentially best limited and some that you should fill your entire week with.
Pelvic floor exercises – all day, every day. You can never have enough pelvic floor training right? Especially if you’re undergoing cervical surgery, investigations, treatment and all the other wonderfully invasive things us women go through. Pilates and yoga classes are great for this, or try adding 3 sets of glute bridges in at the end of your routine. If you’re a pro gym goer then put a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees, for some extra resistance on that move.
Now I’m sure we all love a bit of power training and we all want that great booty right? Whilst some explosive training can be great for your leg muscles and your fitness levels, too many sessions a week can exacerbate pelvic weaknesses, and we don’t need that in our lives do we girls. Limit high intensity training to just 2 sessions per week and try to mix up your exercises so high impact jumps aren’t always the sole focus. I’m talking mostly abut box jumps here. You can however build in a good mix of cardiovascular workouts and toning workouts into your week.
Cardio will help your respiratory and circulatory systems so you can fuel your muscles, your organs and your cells efficiently and effectively remove waste products from your system. Weights sessions will not only sculpt that body but help keep your muscles, joints and bones strong, promote levels of healthy nutrients in your blood stream and make you feel fantastic! Especially during Radiotherapy which is potentially likely to leave me a little nauseous and open to colds and digestive issues (oh the joys), so keeping fit is a really good way of helping keep the immune system healthy and prevent any little coughs and colds coming through, and making sure I am eating the right things will hopefully help to avoid too many digestive problems during and following treatment.
All in all it’s pretty good news, homemade sweet potato fries, fruit packed smoothies and yummy fish, paired with awesome fun workouts, what’s not to like about health boosting?
Most important bit – don’t miss your check-ups! If you think something isn’t quite right, get a professional opinion.