You’re smart to take steps to prevent uterine (also known as endometrial) cancer, especially since new studies prove a healthy uterus releases hormones that help strengthen your bones, protect against incontinence, improve sexual function and lower heart disease risk as much as 25 percent.
Get your vitamin D.
A daily 2,000-IU dose of vitamin D3 (the most absorbable form) can cut your risk as much as 62 percent — even if you have a family history of the disease.
D’s secret? “This nutrient makes your immune cells stronger and more aggressive, so they’re able to destroy abnormal uterine cells long before they can form tumors or spread,” explains Michael F. Holick, M.D., professor of medicine at Boston University.
Drink tea and coffee.
Enjoying three cups of black tea, green tea or coffee (regular or decaf) each day could cut your risk of uterine cancer 25 percent or more, Canadian researchers say. Ounce for ounce, coffee and tea contain more anti-cancer compounds (called polyphenols) than many fruits and veggies. Polyphenols
latch onto uterine cells and protect them from attack by environmental toxins.
Lycopene — the pigment that gives tomatoes their brilliant red color — speeds the healing of damaged uterine cells, reducing the odds they’ll ever become cancerous. It also blocks the growth of any abnormal cells that do form, according to research in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
Best of all, this protection appears to begin within 24 hours of the first dose, says study coauthor Mike Danilenko, Ph.D. Rx: 1/2 cup of cooked tomato products (such as soup or sauce) or one cup of raw tomatoes daily.
Enjoy more avocados.
Avocados are rich in carotenoids, nutrients that can cut your uterine cancer risk 20 percent if you eat 1/2 cup daily, Asian research shows. Carotenoids help deactivate a troublemaking enzyme that fuels the growth of uterine cancers, say the researchers. Other top food sources include spinach and canned pumpkin.
Up your soy intake.
Eating 1/2 cup of soy foods daily can reduce your uterine cancer risk as much as 27 percent, say University of Hawaii researchers, and the heavier you are the more protection you’ll get from this diet tweak. Soy is rich
in phytoestrogens, gentle plant compounds that stop riskier estrogens from attaching to and damaging cells in your uterus. An easy way to get your daily soy: Snack on 1/2 cup of edamame.
Fitting in 30 minutes of physical activity (relaxing strolls and yoga count) each day will cut your risk of uterine cancer 33 percent, even if you don’t lose a pound, Swedish studies show. The researchers’ best guess why: Exercise improves blood flow to the pelvis, helping to flush away damaging
inflammation and cancer-fueling estrogen.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.