Photo: Thinkstock
You’ve kept your engine running smoothly and all the signs say that you’re on the road to good health. Still, without expecting it, you could be blindsided by cancer. Today cancer remains the second leading killer in America.

But here’s some good news. Thanks to recent groundbreaking research, there are new ways to protect yourself against cancer. Here, Dr. Oz reveals 5 wrong turns that can lead to cancer so you can avoid them and keep on the road to good health.

Wrong Turn #1: You’re Overdoing Vitamin E Supplements
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s been touted to prevent lung cancer. However, in excess amounts, vitamin E can actually become an anti-antioxidant and damage DNA, which can lead to cancer growth.

(Until recently, vitamin E was recommended to ease hot flashes, but new evidence suggests that long-term use may actually be harmful.)

Right Turn:
The FDA recommended daily value for vitamin E is 30 IU, which means you really don’t need to take a vitamin E supplement in addition to your multivitamin. The optimal way to get vitamin E is in your diet. Pistachios are one of the best dietary sources of gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E. One or two handfuls of these nuts a day provides a healthy dose of this nutrient.
Wrong Turn #2: You Don’t Eat at the Same Time Every Day
When you eat meals at different times rather than on a regular schedule, your body goes into stress mode. For example, when you eat breakfast at 7 a.m. one morning and 11 a.m. the next, your body becomes confused about where its next meal is coming from. This causes the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol lead to spikes in insulin, which causes inflammation and can increase the risk of many cancers.

Right Turn:
Create a regular meal schedule and do your best to stick with it. Since life often intervenes when it comes to routines, make a habit of carrying a healthy snack with you at all times, such as air-popped popcorn or an apple, to ward off hunger pangs and insulin spikes.

Wrong Turn #3: You Don’t Brush and Floss Regularly
The link between gum disease and oral cancer has been clear for sometime. Now the latest research also links poor oral hygiene to increasing cancer risk throughout the body, including breast cancer. In fact, one study showed a 75% increase in breast cancer in women with gum disease compared to women who didn’t have gum disease.

The danger occurs if you don’t brush and floss effectively. Bacteria forms in the mouth, plaque builds up, and inflammation forms in the gums, increasing the possibility of cancer anywhere in the body. Because of hormonal changes that occur during monthly menstruation and menopause, women experience more gum sensitivity and inflammation, putting them at greater risk.

Right Turn:
You must practice proper brushing and flossing. The average American brushes for 38 seconds a day, but you really need to brush for about two minutes and also floss daily. See your oral health-care provider to determine if you have too much plaque build-up. You can also find out by chewing dental plaque disclosing tablets that can be ordered online.

Besides flossing and brushing, add this extra secret weapon: neem bark extract. Neem bark extract acts as an anti-inflammatory to prevent gum disease and can also be ordered online; take it in a cup of tea or simply dilute it in a little hot water once a day as part of your oral hygiene routine.
Wrong Turn #4: You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Studies show that people who get fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night have a 50% increased risk of developing polyps in the colon which can lead to colon cancer. The problem is, the body simply can’t produce enough of the sleep hormone melatonin when it runs on less than 6 hours of sleep; melatonin acts as an antioxidant to repairs cells and helps keep cancer at bay.

Right Turn:
Prioritize bedtime by setting an alarm clock that also goes off when it’s time to go to sleep, not just when it’s time to wake up. Use this alarm at night to help you fall into a healthy bedtime routine.

Wrong Turn #5: You Eat Too Many Low-Fat Foods
Packaged foods such as cookies and cakes that are marketed as “low fat” or “fat free” lure people who want to lose weight. But to replace the flavor from fat, these products are loaded with unhealthy refined carbs and simple sugars that spike insulin and actually increase weight gain. What’s worse, these insulin spikes also lead to cancer-causing inflammation.

Remember, whenever you buy low-fat and fat-free products, you’re also missing out on the good fats, like omega-3s, that have been shown to protect against cancer. What’s more, healthy fats actually slow the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed, so a balanced diet that includes healthy fats actually helps maintain a good weight.

Right Turn:
If you want to indulge, buy a full-fat version of a cookie or other food and enjoy it as a treat once in a while. You’ll probably eat less of it since you know how much fat it contains, and you’re not being tricked into eating more than you should by a low-fat snack product.

More on Cancer:


Next Story