There are tried-and-true methods to prevent cancer. But most are difficult.
It’s not easy to quit smoking, to lose weight, or to make big changes to your diet.
And one of the biggest cancer risk factors—your genes—are impossible to change. There’s nothing you can do about your DNA.
But what if you could prevent cancer without making any major lifestyle changes?
A major study involving nearly 4,000 people shows it’s not only possible, but many people are already doing it.
Researchers in Spain analyzed the link between cancer and the timing of meals.i
They concentrated on two type of cancer—prostate and breast. After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. And for women, it is breast cancer.ii
The scientists gathered data from 621 men with prostate cancer and 872 men who were cancer-free. They interviewed the men about their meal timing and sleep habits.
Then they did the same with women. Their female study group included 1,205 cases of breast cancer and 1,321 cancer-free women.
Simple Eating Trick to Prevent Cancer
After analyzing the data and adjusting for other factors like smoking and age, they discovered that the timing of the last meal of the day was directly linked to subjects’ cancer risk.
Specifically, having the evening meal before 9 p.m. or waiting at least two hours after dinner to go to bed lowered the risk of prostate and breast cancers by 20%.
Dr. Manolis Kogevinas is lead author of the study. He is head of the Cancer Program at Barcelona Institute for Global Health.iii
The findings “will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account,” he said.
Why Late Meals Promote Cancer
Both breast and prostate cancers have previously been linked to the disruption of the circadian rhythm. This is your natural “body clock.” It tells your bodies when to sleep, wake up, and eat.
Every cell in the body is controlled by circadian rhythms. And they usually work in harmony. But they can be thrown off when we sleep or eat at times that are in conflict with our body clock.iv
The researchers theorize that when the people eat dinner late or go to bed soon after eating, they upset the natural rhythm of their bodies.
The circadian clock controls the “on” and “off” switch for many cell functions that are key for blocking cancer development. Disrupting the clock can help create the right conditions for tumors to develop and grow.v
Simple Strategy to Avoid Late Night Eating
The obvious lesson from the study is to eat dinner earlier. And don’t fall asleep right after.
Some people prefer to eat late because they suffer from hunger at night if they don’t. If they eat earlier, they are prone to late night snacking.
If that’s you, add fiber and protein to your dinners. They will make you feel fuller longer.
Foods high in fiber include vegetables such as green beans, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, and beets. Good protein sources include grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon.
Stay away from carbs at dinner. They can cause blood sugar spikes that lead to hunger pangs.
Cancer is one of the biggest threats to your health and to your life. Avoiding late-night eating may be easiest thing you can do prevent it.
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