Avoiding lung cancer – Go with green

April 21, 2008

It is one of the most common and deadly chronic diseases that afflicts both men and women, and you don’t have to be – or have been – a smoker to contract it. Women in particular are more susceptible to lung cancer than men. In fact, about 80 percent of non-smokers who develop lung cancer are women and it is responsible for more deaths than ovarian, breast, and uterine cancers combined.

One simple, natural, everyday habit that can help you avoid it is to think green. We have seen how you need your greens for magnesium, but there is one green vegetable that stands leaf and root above the others for its potent combination of antioxidants and flavonoids.

Leafy greens such as spinach, cabbage, and kale, are all excellent but the king of them all turns out to be not some exotic hard-to-get item but your ordinary lettuce. At least it is according to a study done by researchers at Spain’s Galician Public Foundation for Health Emergencies who examined the correlation between fruit and vegetable intake and lung cancer risk. Of the 600 subjects, nearly half were lung cancer patients, and the rest were cancer-free and all from the same area in Northern Spain. At the conclusion of the trial an analysis of each subject’s dietary intake revealed no link between fruit intake and a reduced risk of lung cancer BUT those who ate at least one serving per day of leafy green vegetables – particularly lettuce – had half the risk of lung cancer compared to subjects who only ate these types of vegetables a few times each week. Other ‘highly commended’ foods for avoiding lung cancer were also noted to be tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, and turnip tops. These vegetables have this protective effect because they are abundant in vitamin A, so all round it looks like a daily salad has even more going for it – just keep the dressing a simple one of olive oil and lemon juice and you max the health benefits even more.

If you are concerned you might be vulnerable to lung cancer, these are the primary warning signs:

- A cough that changes character (such as severity or frequency)
- Coughing that wakes you up at night
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in sputum


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