At the beginning of each new year, almost half of adults in North America resolve to better themselves in some way. From spending more time with family and friends to saving money to losing weight, New Year’s Resolutions are often made with the best of intentions but can be challenging to keep. In fact, studies show that more than 20% of resolutions are broken after the first week, 40% are broken after one month and 60% after six months. YIKES!
In honor of the start of a new year, we’ve put together seven cancer-fighting resolutions that are worth fighting to keep. If you can’t commit to all seven, simply pick one or two and stick with them. Your body will thank you.
1. Give your body the nutrients it needs.
What you eat – and don’t eat – has a powerful effect on your health. Maintaining a healthy weight and nourishing your body with certain foods is key. A few simple changes to your diet can make a big difference in how you look and feel – and can also help lower your risk of cancer.
Add superfoods to your diet.
Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that contain large doses of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
* Add dark green veggies like spinach, broccoli, and kale to your salads and omelets.
* Snack on a handful of raw almonds or roasted pumpkin seeds instead of a bag of chips.
* Also, check out some of our favorite cancer-fighting recipes using superfoods.
Replace one processed item a day with real food.
* Grab an apple or an orange instead of cookies.
* Substitute cucumbers and baby carrots for crackers. Dip them hummus for a tasty treat.
* Replace soda with a glass of water or sparkling water. Water helps your body get rid of toxins that put you at risk for diseases like cancer.
2. Schedule your screenings.
Regular cancer screenings help with the early detection and prevention of cancer. Screening tests include mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopies for colorectal cancer, pap smears for cervical and uterine cancer, body checks for skin cancer, and more. Talk to your doctor to see what screenings are appropriate for you given your family history, age, and lifestyle choices. For more information on cancer screenings, see NFCR’s Cancer Detection Guidelines.
3. Use sunscreen every day (even during the winter months).
Skin cancer rates are on the rise and sunscreen has been proven to reduce the risk of skin cancer. While people with fair skin may be more likely to develop skin cancer due to sun exposure, people with darker skin tones are at risk as well. Sunscreen protects against sunburn as well as harmful ultraviolet rays that can wreak havoc on your skin on cloudy, overcast, or winter days where there is no sunshine. Sunscreen also helps prevent premature aging.
4. Get moving every day.
Studies conclusively show that exercise helps relieve stress, weight gain and reduces cancer-related risks. It can even help cancer survivors live longer. So, get out there and dance, run, bike, or walk. Exercising at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes every day has so many benefits.
5. Reduce your alcohol intake.
Although moderate alcohol use has possible health benefits, it’s also not risk-free. Excessive use can cause liver damage, heart problems, and even cancer. To reduce your lifetime risk of cancer: On average, men should not consume more than 2 drinks per day and women should not consume more than 3 drinks per week.
6. Quit smoking.
Smoking harms nearly every organ and organ system in the body. It can also cause 14 different types of cancer. If you are a current or former smoker, your risk of developing lung can be up to 25 times higher than someone who never smoked. Quitting reduces your risk, even if you’ve smoked for years.
7. Travel the world with Fly to Find a Cure.
Fly to Find A Cure is an NFCR program aimed at raising funds to accelerate vital cancer research projects with travel incentives. For every dollar donated, you earn airline mileage from your choice of popular airlines programs: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan®, American Airlines AAdvantage®, United MileagePlus® or Delta SkyMiles®. A major portion of your gift is also tax deductible. So make a resolution to travel to a new city or exotic location this year and fight cancer at the same time. To learn more, visit nfcr.org/miles.
From all of us at NFCR, we wish you a happy, healthy, safe new year!
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FUN FACTS ABOUT NEW YEAR’S
* The first New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years.
* Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year’s Eve are believed to have originated in ancient times when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.
* It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck for the rest of the year, depending on who they were.
* December 31, 1907, marks the very first ball lowering in Times Square.