Increasing your general wellness means increasing your knowledge of diseases and understanding your risks. Your risk of becoming ill or suffering from different medical conditions changes throughout your life. This is a guide to the ways you can maintain good health and increase your vigilance against possible diseases. It is important to have a general practitioner who will get to know you and understand your health conditions.

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) (avoid during pregnancy). The therapeutic use of Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) was long considered as “alternative medicine” but today European and American physicians commonly prescribe it as the drug of choice to treat mastalgia, i.e. tender and lumpy breasts with symptoms of pain and dull heaviness. The effective ingredient of EPO is gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which in the body turns into prostaglandin PGE1. It seems to correct the disturbed fatty acid metabolism often prevalent in mastalgia and PMS. Mastalgia often occurs in connection with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome for which EPO also is an effective, a relatively cheap and a safe therapy. The response to EPO therapy is usually slow, often requiring over 6 months for full results.

Folic acid: A team of American and Chinese researchers has discovered that folic acid (folate) may be effective in helping prevent Breast Cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women. The researchers found a clear correlation between dietary intake of folic acid and the risk of Breast Cancer. The protective effect of folic acid was even more pronounced in women who also had a high dietary intake of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and methionine. Researchers believe that folic acid exerts its protective effect by preventing errors in DNA replication and by helping to regenerate methionine, a vital component in DNA synthesis. They also point out that both vitamin-B12 and vitamin-B6 are vital cofactors required for folic acid to “do its job”.

NOTE: Most multivitamins have levels of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 well above the levels found to be beneficial in the Chinese study.

Vitamin B6 Improves the symptoms of PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and fibrocystic breast changes. Some women find that taking vitamin B6 supplements eases PMS symptoms. This is particularly true for women who suffer from severe breast pain – fibrocystic breasts, specifically around the time that PMS symptoms occur. The nutrient appears to help by assisting the liver in its effort to wash excess oestrogen from the body. In addition, B6 raises levels of the hormone progesterone and assists in the manufacture of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that enhances mood.

Green tea or green tea extract: American researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant and besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Further studies have shown however that it is unlikely that the average intake of Green Tea will protect against cancer.

Indole-3-Carbinol Cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica genus, for example, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower contain indole-3-carbinol and researchers suspect that this component is one of several found in vegetables that may protect against cancer. Diets high in fruit and vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of cancer. In premenopausal women, a supplement containing I3C and 7-hydroxymatairesinol significantly increased the urinary 2:16-hydroxyestrone ratio, a known biomarker for the reduction of Breast Cancer risk. Because it may induce cytochrome P450 enzymes (14), I3C may interact with several medications. Root vegetables such as turnips also contain some indole-3-carbinol.

Grape seed extract: The antioxidants in grape seed extract work hard at helping to control cellular damage, routinely hunting down and neutralizing mutations within the genetic material of cells that could lead to tumour formation. The development and progression of cancers of the lung, breast, stomach, prostate, colon, skin and other body parts may be stalled as a result.
Rooibos tea has been thought to be a healthy alternative to other types of hot drinks. It contains 37 anti-oxidant compounds which destroy free radicals in the body thus protecting the cells against attack. There has never been a scientific study of the potential cancer-fighting benefits of Rooibos however.