non-Hodgkins lymphoma

  1. How to choose the right sunscreen

    Summer arrives this week, which means it's time to pick a sunscreen. Just don't pick the ones recommended by Consumer Reports.

    The magazine recently reviewed sunscreens, and named two in particular as top values. And yes, you'll get a lot for your money with these two -- if you're looking to buy hormone-disrupting chemicals and known carcinogens that is.

    If you're looking to stay healthy, on the other hand, then stay far, far away from the magazine's recommendations.

    Before I get into picking a sunscreen, though, let me tell you a little about why you don't want to cover up at all times the way so many people do these days.

    You actually need your sunlight.

    Sure, too much sun can increase your risk of burns and skin cancers -- but too little can increase your risk of any number of other cancers.

    A new analysis of data from more than 450,000 participants in a major diet and nutrition study found a direct relationship between sunlight and many cancers.

    It just wasn't the relationship you hear about in the media much -- because in this case, researchers found that people with the lowest levels of sun exposure had the highest risks of certain cancers, including Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and cancers of the colon, lung, prostate, kidney, and bladder.

    It might be shocking if this was the first or only study of its kind -- but it's not.

    Another study earlier this year looked at data from 100 countries, and found strong evidence that the vitamin D your body makes from the UVB rays of the sun can help prevent 15 types of cancer -- including cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, lung, and pancreas.

    And along with protecting you from cancer, the sunshine vitamin can help strengthen your bones, protect your heart and brain, and even boost your immune system.

    So get some sunlight each day (and it won't hurt to take a quality D supplement while you're at it). And then, if you're going to be outside for a longer period of time -- or if you're planning to spend a day at the beach -- cover up with a good sunscreen.

    And by "good," I don't mean the brands recommended by Consumer Reports. The magazine actually acknowledged some of the problem ingredients in sunscreens… and then recommended the brands that contain those ingredients anyway.

    The big one to watch out for here is oxybenzone, an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ toxicity and more -- and it's in both of the magazine's value picks.

    Many sunscreens contain other endocrine disruptors as well, and more than a few are loaded with known carcinogens.

    I recommend using sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide -- and as few other ingredients as possible.

    For more help picking your sunscreen, visit the Web site of the Environmental Working Group. You'll find a breakdown of the ingredients in each major and many minor brands, as well as a details on the risks of each.

    Along with sunscreens, the group also rates and ranks other common skin creams and cosmetics.

    If you have any in your home right now, look them up in the online database. You might be surprised by what you've been putting on your skin all these years.

  2. Antioxidants slash cancer risk

    Here are your doctor's orders for today: Eat your broccoli.

    There are so many good reasons to enjoy fresh vegetables, especially broccoli, but another one leapt out at me as I read the August issue of the International Journal of Cancer. Certain vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants – especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli – can reduce your risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma by as much as 30 percent.

    The various forms of non-Hodgkins lymphoma lead to more than 50,000 new cancer diagnoses each year. But researchers found that certain antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables can slash your chances of being one of them.

    In fact, the study found that people who ate four or more broccoli servings per month had a 28 percent lower risk of lymphoma. The researchers also found that people who ate yellow and orange fruits and vegetables had the same benefit – but they had to eat at least 14 servings per month to get it.

    Broccoli is great, but other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, bok choy, rutabaga, and cabbage have some of the same powers. So you can mix it up as long as you're enjoying them on a regular basis.

    Try new recipes – and try new vegetables – so you don't get bored, and you'll be more likely to keep these great, fresh foods in your diet.

    The key here is the word "fresh." You're not going to get any of the benefit if you eat dehydrated broccoli pieces that have been reconstituted in some packaged food that you shouldn't be eating anyway. The researchers say you won't even get the same benefit from a supplement – only real, fresh produce.

    While some fruits have the same benefits, the researchers say the evidence points more strongly toward the vegetables. Besides, if you're like most people you probably already have too much sugar in your diet, so it's best to limit your fruit intake.

    And while the researchers didn't look at this point, I'd say organic is just as important as fresh. You might lower your risk for lymphoma and other diseases by eating antioxidant- rich foods, but you'll be hurting yourself in other ways if your meals are laced with pesticides and other chemicals.

    Of course, there are so many other reasons to eat fresh, organic veggies every day. Many of the critical nutrients we need come from fresh vegetables – including vitamins you just won't get, or won't get enough of, if you eat those packaged meals (even the supposedly healthy ones) and fast food.

    And, as a man who's spent a good part of his life growing fresh, organic vegetables, I can't think of anything that tastes better on the plate next to a delicious grilled steak.


    Antioxidant-rich fruit, veg may prevent lymph cancers lymph-cancers

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