Every day we are bombarded by toxins from the city lifestyle. Be it from polluted air, chlorinated tap water or pesticides in our diet, these nasties can lead to a whole host of health problems and increase the risk of cancer.
World Cancer Day, which was held on the 4th February has again raised more awareness around the causes of the disease and what we can do to lower our risk by our lifestyle choices. On a visit to the Oncology unit in St. George's Hospital, London, I was completely immersed in conversation with the friendly nurse working on the ward. From working at the hospital since the 80's she told me a startling fact, "in the 70's and 80s the main influx of patients to the hospital was because of HIV, there weren't many cancer patients. Now the hospital is overflowing with them."
So what has changed since then? It really got me thinking and I couldn't help but research how we can lower our cancer risk through simple, everyday actions as cancer is so apparent in the modern day. Can we control this through our lifestyle choices, or at least significantly reduce our chances?
Poor air quality and pollution in the city is rife and in many cases unavoidable; car emissions, factory waste and unclean air, such as on the London Tube lines, are all forms of pollution which will undoubtedly bring you in contact with free radicals. More people moving to our world's major cities only contribute to this. Free radicals react with our bodies cells attacking them and stealing their electrons which can lead to a whole host of health problems when in high concentrations. These include, damaging proteins in our body which are essential for growth and repair, cell membrane and even DNA damage. All of these taking place inside of us can contribute to an even greater cancer risk.
Our advice? Avoid the busiest roads where possible when walking in the city. Alternative routes can be found easily along river banks or through quieter side streets. If you find yourself breathing through your mouth, stop doing it! Your nose acts as a natural filter when breathing in unclean air.
Pesticides are toxic substances used more and more by farmers around the world to kill living organisms. This is great for producing a higher quantity of goods such as apples, but not so good in terms of the actual effects of the chemicals in our bodies. There is on-going research surrounding the benefits of organic produce, and with herbicides and pesticides linked to the production of free radicals, it's no wonder that there has been a huge increase of organic produce sales in recent years so as to help protect our cells.
Our advice? Buying everything organic can be unrealistic due to the lack of produce available in many supermarkets. Aim to eat organic foods for the things you eat most regularly in your diet, such as eggs and apples or choose 4 staple foods in your diet that you always buy as organic. Organic meat is highly expensive so buying free range is a good alternative, there being less hormones added to the meat than standard produce. In terms of other protein sources such as protein shakes, we checked out The Organic Protein Company's range of totally organic protein powders...
Protein Shakes & Sweeteners
Most gym goers looking to reach their fitness goals will know the importance of diet, and that means protein shakes! It's undeniable that a whey protein shake is absorbed quickly after a workout leading to a swifter recovery time, but what's in your shake?
Sucralose and aspartame are commonly used as sugar substitutes in health products. Aspartame is found more in diet health foods whereas sucralose is common across the board. Both of these sweetners have been linked with a range of health defects. Sucralose is actually processed with chlorine and is used in the majority of protein powders across the world. Aspartame is less commonly used and has been linked with everyday symptoms such as nausea, to serious health problems including tumour growth.
The Organic Protein Company prides itself on being the UK's first organic protein company from 2014, producing whey protein from small, organic farms across the country. Without the use of herbicides or pesticides in the cow's diet and without added hormones, the end product is significantly lower in toxins than other non-organic powders which are seen as free radicals by our body. Free from artificial sweeteners, the whey does taste blander than most 'Sucralose Shakes', however this is where you can be creative! Adding a host of different healthy foods such as cacao and fruits to your cleaner recovery drink gives a more natural taste in our opinion and only enhances your recovery time due to the added vitamins.
Our verdict? Opting for an organic protein option will benefit your health short term and far into the future keeping unwanted toxins from your precious cells. Taking sweeteners, herbicides and hormones from your daily dietary requirements can lead to a greater quality of life reducing the chances of serious illness in later years. The Organic Protein Company also allows their livestock more pasture time which is great for animal welfare.
Organic Goji & Cacao Protein Shake
40g Whey Protein (The Organic Protein Company)
2 tsp Cacao powder
2-3 tsp Goji Berries
1.5 tsp Maca powder
Half of a Banana
1 tsp of Organic Honey
Blend all of ingredients together. Perfect for post workout - full of antioxidants and a balance of organic protein and natural sugars.