Stay cancer-free


In South Africa one in six men and one in seven women will get cancer during their lives, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa. One of the reasons for the rapid growth in cancer cases is our increased exposure to cancer-causing factors, especially those that directly damage our genes.

These include tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, food and agricultural chemicals, browned, burnt or fried food, excessive sun exposure, radiation and alcohol. A 10-year study of several thousand elderly people in Europe found the higher their betacarotene level, the lower their overall risk of death, especially from cancer.

Eating the equivalent of a carrot a day meant cutting the cancer risk by a third. From a dietary point of view the simplest way to get all antioxidants is to eat a multi-coloured diet, choosing foods high in Oracs (oxygen radical absorbance capacity).

The list below shows Oracs of 20 different foods you can easily incorporate into your daily diet. Pick at least three of these every day. The antioxidant vitamin C needs special mention because a high intake has been consistently shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Supplement at least 2 g of vitamin C a day.

Top Orac-scoring foods:

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

½ teaspoon oregano, dried

½ teaspoon turmeric, ground

1 heaped teaspoon mustard

1/5 cup blueberries

half a pear, grapefruit or plum

½ cup blackcurrants,

blackberries, raspberries

or strawberries

½ cup cherries

an orange or apple

2 pieces of dark

chocolate (70 per

cent cocoa solids)

7 walnut halves

8 pecan halves

¼ cup pistachio nuts

½ cup cooked lentils

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1/3 medium-size avocado

½ cup red cabbage

2 cups broccoli

1 medium artichoke or

8 spears of asparagus

150 ml red wine

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Read your favourite magazine in a convenient PDF form.
Read now