The number of us diagnosed with thyroid cancer has doubled in the last 40 years, show National Cancer Institute studies, making it the fastest-growing cancer nationwide. The good news: Thanks to effective new treatments, 97 percent of thyroid cancers can be cured. Even better, you can stop this cancer from developing.
Snack on sunflower seeds.
They’re rich in selenium, and maintaining your stores of this mineral can cut your risk of thyroid cancer 67 percent, reports the International Journal
of Epidemiology. “Selenium prevents thyroid-damaging inflammation, and it speeds healing if this gland becomes damaged,” explains study author Eystein Glattre, M.D. A 20 mcg. dose of selenium (the amount in 1/4 cup of
sunflower seeds, one Brazil nut, two slices of 100 percent whole-grain
bread or 1 cup of brown rice) is often enough.
Put seafood on the menu.
Fish and shellfish are top sources of omega-3 fats and iodine, nutrients that together quickly repair damaged thyroid cells before they can turn cancerous. Eating these foods works so well, having three six-ounce servings weekly can send your risk of thyroid cancer plunging as much as 40 percent.
Enjoy happy hour.
Two drinks daily (a drink is 12oz. of beer, 5oz. of wine or 1 once 1/2 oz. of hard liquor) cuts the odds of thyroid cancer 28 percent, according to National Cancer Institute research. Alcohol helps your thyroid quickly release the hormones that it makes, preventing damaging buildup
inside the gland, explain the study authors.
Asking smokers to step outside (and getting help if you need to quit yourself) can cut your risk of thyroid cancer in half, say UCLA researchers. “One of the waste products in tobacco smoke (thiocyanate) is extremely damaging to the thyroid,” explains hormone imbalance expert Rashmi Gulati, M.D., director of Patients Medical in New York City. “Plus, it can
increase the severity and effects of many thyroid disorders, making treatment much harder if you do develop one.”
Protect it from X-rays.
Ask to shield your thyroid with a protective collar, which every dental office, hospital and other facility that takes X-rays should have on hand.
The thyroid is easily damaged by radiation — even at levels that are considered perfectly safe for other parts of the body — which is why wearing one whenever you get X-rays of your head, neck or collarbone
area can reduce your risk of thyroid cancer 52 percent.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.