So awhile back, a friend of mine posed a question to me about angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic foods and what the story is behind them. I apologize for not getting to this sooner but as my followers will know, I have been spending a majority of my time per-occupied with grad school. However, today marked the last day of my first semester of grad school *huge sigh of relief*. So I can now concentrate my energy on my blog and doing some of the posts that some of my friends asked me to do but I just didn’t get around to doing…until now.
What is angiogenesis?
So first off, it may be helpful to explain what angiogenesis is. But before we get into that, I need to first explain metastasis. This term is used with cancer to explain the spreading of cancer calls. Metastasis is the ability of cancer cells to penetrate the blood vessels of the body thereby entering the bloodstream. When this happens, cancer cells are able to travel to other locations within the body and set up camp. Another term associated with all of this is angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is described as being the process by which new blood vessels form allowing for an expanded network of nutrient delivery and waste removal. Cancer cells have the ability to produce messengers that basically redirect blood flow to feed and nurture the abnormal cells i.e. cancer cells and destroy tissues of the body through blood losses.
The idea behind anti-angiogenic foods, then, is that certain foods contain angiogenesis-inhibiting compounds and can help prevent cancer. Another theory is that most of the foods on the list also contain antioxidants which may also have a role in preventing cancer. However, there has not been enough solid research to say that anti-angiogenic foods or antioxidants prevent cancer. However, I did find a list of the anti-angiogenic foods on the oprah.com website from when she did a segment featuring the angiogenesis foundation and its research. Here is the list for those that may be interested:
Grape seed Oil
What can I do then to keep my body safe from cancer?
All a person can really do is engage in a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips expanding on that idea:
– eat a healthful diet
– this means including veggies and fruits at every meal, eating a variety of foods, limiting fried/sugary/processed/unhealthy foods, choosing whole grains over enriched, limiting sugary drinks, being mindful of healthier ways to prepare foods (i.e. baking, broiling, or poaching over frying or charboiling), and also being mindful of healthy options when eating out.
– adopt a physically active lifestyle
– this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run a marathon every week. Just get up and get active. Don’t sit around all day. Get a pedometer and see how much you can walk in a day (the typical standard is to aim for 10,000 steps a day). Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Start riding your bike to work (if possible). If not possible, then park in the farthest parking space and walk. I make sure to park as far from the entrance as possible whenever I go somewhere just so I can walk the extra distance. Or even just work out during your favorite tv shows or during commercials. Whenever a commercial comes on, do 100 jumping jacks or do some sit ups. Make it fun! It wasn’t until I found a workout I actually enjoyed doing that I was able to stick with it. Kickboxing is something I found out I enjoy so that’s the workout I try to do at least 3 times a week along with jumping jacks and ab workouts thrown in.
– maintain a healthy weight for your body
– there has been a lot of bickering going on about weight, it’s always a hot topic. Women just can’t seem to get along with each other. It’s either “she’s too fat, she must eat all day and not care about herself” or “she’s too skinny, she must not eat at all”. Seriously, it’s getting old. While I try to strive for healthy as opposed to a certain body type, I do have to stress that being overweight or obese is just not healthy. I will say that it is possible to be a bigger size and still be healthy. BUT there are a number of risks associated with being overweight or obese and your chances of getting cancer (breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney cancer) increase dramatically. So while I’m not trying to say that one body type or body weight is better than another, I am trying to say that letting your body go can result in a lot of detrimental diseases. Just be mindful of how you’re treating your body. You only get one body. Take care of it.
– limit alcohol consumption
– i know that people like to have fun and go out and drink. However, those who drink should be mindful of how much they are drinking. For men, they should limit their consumption to 2 drinks a day and women should limit consumption to 1. Now I know people may have different definitions of what constitutes a drink so here’s the skinny; 1 drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits. Increased consumption of alcohol can lead to all kinds of cancers such as mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, or breast cancer.
What signs should I look for?
It is extremely important to be aware of your body. I know this sounds silly but what I mean is that you need to pay attention to your body. It will tell you when something is wrong. If you have any of these symptoms, do not write them off. You should see a doctor. Better to be safe than sorry:
* wounds that do not heal
* change in bowel habits or bladder function
* unusual bleeding or discharge
* thickening or lump in breast or other parts of the body
* indigestion or difficulty swallowing
* recent change in a wart or mole
* nagging cough or hoarseness
I just want to end by saying that cancer is a serious disease. Do not try to cure yourself with DIY treatments. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.