CHEF TIMOTHY: I recently had a sobering encounter with a widow whose 40-year-old husband had died from prostate cancer. It was more proof telling me something that I already knew: cancer is a health hazard that continues to wreak havoc in our society.
I am honoring this grief-stricken widow's wish to remain anonymous. Her name is not important. The circumstances, however, are because they just might help someone avoid dying prematurely.
The widow was feeling the weight of a painful uncertainty. She wondered whether her late husband still would be alive if he had taken his health more seriously.
I asked why he didn't change his life. She said he just felt his cancer would go away and that his family should understand that he'd made his decision.
Tens of thousands of people are diagnosed each year with cancer. Of the 576,614 cancer patients in the United States, about 1,555 of them die each day. Among killer diseases, cancer ranks second only to heart disease. And when the newest data is released, you can rest assure that the overall number of those stricken by cancer will increase.
We spend billions of dollars each year looking for a cure for cancer. Is there a cure in the foreseeable future? I would hope so. So many of us have lost loved ones to the dreaded disease. Cancer doesn't care about your race, age or status in life.
We have to stop this disease in its tracks. We can't allow it to control us. Some cancers, of course, can be prevented; and some can be reversed. But we must believe it's possible to eradicate cancer altogether. Stop listening to the voices of negativity, for they often are at the root of a lot of our illnesses.
If you're trying to reduce your risk of cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research says you have to exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day, reduce your busy schedule, and take control of your body. You have to be active and maintain a moderate exercise program that allows you to function at optimum levels.
If losing weight is your goal, you can control it with relative ease, if you eat healthy and exercise. Today, there is so much emphasis on weight loss, but don't lose focus. Get the weight off and you may not need to worry about cancer.
In some studies, there is a link between obesity and cancer. Excess body fat has been known to increase the risk for pancreas, colon, rectum, kidney, breast and gallbladder cancers. Prevention starts with eliminating fat from the waistline and body, and maintaining an overall body structure according to the body mass index chart.
A dietary change is important too. What you eat determines your overall well being as it relates to cancer or any other type of disease. Nutrition information can be confusing and misleading. Doctors and nutritionists sometimes contradict themselves about the right foods to eat.
So who really knows what foods to eat to stay healthy?
There is research to show that eating the right foods can assist in the fight against cancer. The major cancer fighting fruits and vegetables are apples, blueberries, broccoli, cruciferous vegetables, cherries, cranberries, flaxseeds, legumes (dry beans, peas, lentils), drank green leafy vegetables, garlic, tomatoes and whole grains.
I am convinced that eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent and reverse cancer. They are very low in calories and great in helping us to remain healthy.