When you are diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer, the newest medical advances may be just one part of treatment. It’s important to take a multimodal approach to dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
Dealing with cancer often demands a complete shift in lifestyle and more thought about how you are treating your body, in terms of everything from your diet to chemical exposure.
Of course, taking a holistic approach to your health is no guarantee of improvement or a cure. Some types of cancer remain incurable. Holistic measures are also no substitute for medical treatment. However, a holistic approach may improve your chances of recovery.
Some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to fighting cancer from a multimodal approach include:
Stay away from processed food.
One of the biggest problems with American diets is the large amounts of processed foods many of us eat. When you look at a food label and see chemicals and ingredients that you don’t recognize, you cannot be sure what they are doing to your body. If you choose to purchase packaged foods, make sure you recognize all the ingredients. Ideally, processed foods should not contain more than a handful of ingredients.
It’s also critical to avoid products with added sugar. Since sugar affects virtually every system in the body, it is best to remove it from your diet. Too much sugar can upset the digestive process and cause high peaks and low valleys in your blood glucose levels. This in turn can affect hormones and the nervous system.
Avoid toxins in your environment.
We live in a world full of toxins and they can inhibit our body’s natural ability to heal. You should avoid all plastic, in everything from food and beverage containers to utensils. Plastics contain xenoestrogens, which function like estrogen in the body and can be carcinogenic.
You may want to invest in a high-quality air filter to ensure you are not breathing in anything that can be harmful to your body. In addition, be on high alert for molds. If you smell something musty, throw it away or ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned. Furniture made of particle board, clothes, and bath linens can all harbor harmful molds. Furthermore, avoid caramelizing or charring food as the resulting compounds can be carcinogenic.
Maintain good sleep hygiene.
Few things are as important to our overall health as sleep. With good sleep, we bolster our immune systems, restore hormone balances, and provide our bodies with proper energy. Give yourself plenty of time to wind down from your day and prepare for sleep.
About an hour before bed, turn off your phone and all fluorescent lights. You may use a Himalayan salt lamp for light. Unwind with a bath, meditation, yoga, or something else you find relaxing. Avoid blue light, especially from phones and electronic devices. Blue blocker glasses can help signal to your body that it is time to sleep. Once you are ready, lay down in a dark room with no light from the street.
In the morning, as soon as you wake up, look toward the sun to stimulate cortisol production in your body.
Find time for yourself.
Too often, people do not give themselves time to relax and exist as themselves. Driving in the car, going to the gym, and walking to the store do not count as personal time. You need time to reflect each day. Give yourself the space to let your mind stop running and simply be present and aware of yourself. Taking 15 minutes to do this each day can work wonders for your health. It also facilitates a better connection with your inner self.
Time for yourself can be anything from meditation to creative pursuits. Feel free to dance, sing, write, draw, or do whatever else lets you express yourself and get more in touch with your feelings. Do not fall into the trap of prioritizing your physical health above all else. Your mental and spiritual health are just as important!
Keep moving every day.
The benefits of regular exercise cannot be understated. Try to keep yourself moving every day, even if that just means a walk. Exercise affects every system in the body and helps you feel energized. Ideally, you’d do a mix of cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercise.
There’s no need to exercise for more than an hour—instead, focus on consistency. Try to exercise each day. Spend about three or four days per week doing moderate weight-bearing exercise and then around two days doing light cardiovascular workouts. Over time, challenge yourself to lift more and go further to build your endurance. You don’t need to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion, but challenging yourself is good for the mind and body.
Learn about the medicine of food.
Many common ingredients have effects on our bodies. By learning about these effects, you can tailor your meals to provide natural relief from common ailments.
For example, turmeric is a great spice for improving brain health, reducing inflammation, and removing carcinogens from the body. Likewise, ginger has anti-inflammatory property and can reduce nausea. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and rosemary is great for promoting brain function. Oregano also has antimicrobial properties.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may want to add clove to your diet. For digestive health, you can also consider cumin and cayenne. Cilantro helps remove some toxins from your body. These natural remedies are great alternatives to pharmacologic ones.
The bottom line
Medical intervention is absolutely necessary for serious conditions like cancer. At the same time, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and the other holistic tips above can put your body in the right mode for recovery. A cancer diagnosis demands a serious response—you’ve got to throw everything you can at this insidious disease.