|Commit to healthier lifestyle, live longer
by Dawn Brazell
Research continues to confirm that food can kill or heal, yet many
health professionals fail to pass that along to their patients.
When asked at a recent lecture at MUSC called “Just Say Whoa! to
Cancer” why that is the case, Ann Kulze, M.D., was quick to defend
health professionals. She worked as a family physician for 14 years
before establishing her wellness consulting firm, Just Wellness, LLC,
in 2002. She made the change because she realized she didn’t have the
time to do the patient education needed in a 15-minute visit, she said.
Kulze, a motivational speaker devoted to getting people to shift to
healthier lifestyle habits, spoke to more than 70 people at Hollings
Cancer Center May 5 as part of the Brain Tumor Awareness Week.
“Since the early ’90s, there’s been a virtual avalanche of rock-solid,
truly mind-bending data telling us loud and clear that the majority of
illness and chronic disease that we experience in America is largely
Her goal for the talk: get people to understand and believe the
research so they will commit or recommit to the simple strategies shown
to combat chronic disease of all kinds, from cancer to cardiovascular
“If you group all the cancers together, based on the latest estimates,
70 percent of the total could be prevented with the handful of
strategies that you will hear today.”
Kulze said something as simple and easy as taking a daily 30-minute
walk while keeping body weight at a healthy range can prevent cancer
reoccurrence as effectively or more effectively than some of the cancer
drugs that are being used. Many people fail to realize that body fat,
especially visceral fat, is not a benign ball of fat that just sits
there, but rather acts as a substance that can be highly active
metabolically, she said.
Flashing up a slide about belly fat, she explained all the bioactive
agents and chemicals it secretes and the effects that it can have on
the body, driving inflammation and insulin resistance, which is a very
bad idea for those who have cancer cells lurking, she said.
Another tip: Get vitamin D levels checked. She said 70 percent of the
population is deficient, particularly African-Americans. She recommends
1,000 IU of a vitamin D-3 supplement daily.
“Vitamin D is going to be the medical story of the decade if not the
century. For a long time we thought it was vitamin D and bone health.
Wrong—it’s everything. It’s cancer protection. It’s being happy. It’s
having a brain that works ... It’s having a robust immune system, and
it goes on and on.”
- Maintain an
optimal weight. That means a body mass index of less than 25 and waist
sizes of less than 32.5 inches for women and 36 for men throughout
one’s life. The No. 1 cancer-preventing lifestyle habit a person can
have is to be a non-smoker. The very next item on the list to lower
cancer risk is to keep weight at healthy levels.
- Get active. The
recommendations are at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity
daily, with an optimal of 60 minutes moderate or 30 minutes of vigorous
- Limit consumption
of energy dense, processed foods, especially fast foods, sugary
beverages and junk foods.
- Do the
carbohydrates right, avoiding what Kulze calls the “great, white
hazards” such as white flour products, white rice and sugar. These
foods trigger hormonal changes that can promote tumor growth,
especially in breast, colon and prostate tissue. They also drive weight
gain. The key is to focus on whole grains and beans and legumes.
- Consume as many
fruits and vegetables as possible since more than 200 studies show the
anti-cancer power that they pack. The volume of food trumps calories
when it comes to satisfying appetite, so fruits and vegetables should
be the mainstay of an immune-boosting diet.
- Do fats right. For
example, maximize the consumption of omega-3 fats, especially from oily
fish, such as salmon and tuna and minimize the consumption of omega-6
fats, such as sunflower and soybean oil.
Kulze’s last slide
showed her with her family that includes four children. It can be
daunting to establish and stick to healthier lifestyle habits, but the
effort is so worth it, she said. “If it’s not enough for you to do it
for yourself,” she said, pointing to the picture, “then do it for the
people you love.”
- Spice up food,
enjoying curry, ginger, rosemary and garlic regularly. Spices contain
very powerful anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
For more on Dr.
Ann's tips, visit http://www.DrAnnwellness.com. The Hollings Cancer Center’s Integrative
Care Center also offers nutritional information. For information about
HCC's services, visit http://hcc.musc.edu/outreach/integrativecancercare.htm.
Friday, June 11, 2010