We salute Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams for keeping the memory of his late mother, Sandra Hill, alive in such an impactful way. In 2014 she succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 53. According to ABC, he’s also lost four aunts to the disease. In memory of his mother, DeAngelo will now pay for 53 women to have mammograms throughout Charlotte and Pittsburgh.
DeAngelo has been championing for breast cancer awareness throughout his career. In 2009 he helped to rally the NFL to allow players to wear pink cleats during breast cancer awareness month. Outside of October, the league has banned DeAngelo from wearing pink accents on his uniform.
“There is a long-standing policy for all players regarding uniforms that is league-wide for all 32 teams. The league works with the clubs and players to raise awareness collectively for breast cancer during the month of October” read a statement released by the NFL.
The league doesn’t sanction the way DeAngelo wears his hair so he dyed his dreads pink! “Breast cancer, whether I like it or not, is part of my family’s story, that’s why I am so passionate about raising awareness, because I have seen firsthand how it can impact others” he wrote in an essay for Sports Illustrated.
He also shared this touching story, “One time, a lady came up to me and said she was going to get examined just because she saw me wearing pink cleats during a game. I walked away thinking, Wow, pink is really so much more than just a color. It’s a lifesaver. It’s awareness. If we reach one, we reach millions. If we reach millions, we’re doing our job and getting closer to finding a cure.”
Check out his awesome NFL commercial regarding his support for breast cancer awareness as well as a PSA about the importance of early detection from mammograms.
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1. Foods To Fight Cancer
While many causes of cancer are environmental–what we puff voluntarily (ie. tobacco), involuntarily (hazardous chemicals and fumes), or perhaps even excessive sun exposure, many of them are not.
What we eat or don’t eat can also play a significant role. Important fact: Nothing in our diet can single handedly prevent or cure cancer, however these foods seemingly carry some cancer-protective properties. So eat up!
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Red wine in particular. Due to it’s high concentration of the chemical resveratrol from the grape skin, a stemmed glass of vino is not only anti-cancer, but pro-heart.
However, before you fill your glass to the rim, know that moderation is key. Over-consumption of alcohol can be associated with liver, breast and stomach cancers. So find the balance sis. Let’s say…one glass a day.
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Bring on the leafy green vegetables, asparagus, beans, peas and lentils! Foods that are generally high in folate can pack some serious cancer-preventive properties thanks to the fact that folate and the related folic acid (or vitamin B9), is part of the vitamin B-complex family. Side salad anyone?
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Get it crackin’ lady. Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients and healthy omega-3 fatty acids- which help your body fight inflammation.
Research also suggests that walnuts may actually slow the growth of breast cancer tumors, therefore this nut could play a role in breast cancer management even after diagnosis.
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5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Kin to the mustard or cabbage family: cabbage, broccoli, kale brussels sprouts and collards are all great sources of anti-cancer properties such as diindolylmethane, sulforaphane and the element selenium.
But here’s the twist. The punch comes with the crunch: The more you chew the better it is for you since for proper release of these chemicals these veggies need to be fully broken down.
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6. Ginger & Turmeric
Curry dishes on deck. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can slow cancer growth, while turmeric, the spice that forms the base of most curries, is from a root in the ginger family.
The active ingredient curcumin has shown that it could play a role in helping fight breast cancer tumors when combined with certain drug based therapies. Plus, it also may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could protect your overall health.
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More potent than it’s popular oil based form, ground flaxseeds include a component called lignans, which may actually decrease cancer growth. You can buy ground flaxseed or grind the seeds yourself using a coffee grinder.
Then, sprinkle the ground flaxseed on salads, in smoothies or even bake them in muffins. Yum!
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8. Green Tea
Green tea and white tea both contain catechins- extracts that seem to show some benefit in breast cancer prevention. Research suggests that green tea is also particularly effective at protecting your cells against environmental exposures that might increase the risk for cancer.
However, you are going to have to down a lot of tea (think four or more cups a day) to achieve this effect. P.S. Sugary green tea drinks don’t count.
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Looking for a great alternative to red meat that is packed with Vitamin D and Omega-3‘s? Fish oil and straight fish is your best bet when it comes to cancer prevention. Fish is also a smart lean protein source.
So opt for salmon, mackerel, sardines, sea bass and tuna as cancer preventive diet choices.
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Yes, chocolate (in moderation) can be healthy. That is, provided the cocoa-to-candy ratio remains high. So when cravings creep in reach for a dark chocolate bar with at least 70-percent cocoa (often spelled cacao). The closer to its bitter bean state the better.
There is a class of chemicals in cocoa called catechins (also found in tea), that seem to offer protection against heart disease, stroke and you guessed it– cancer.
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If you see the word "berry," then eat it–especially since they are extremely healthy and power-packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can aid cancer prevention.
Most berries contain ellagic acid and other polyphenol antioxidants that inhibit tumor growth, however recent research suggests that blueberries, in particular, play a significant role in breast cancer management by enhancing the effect of the often prescribed drug tamoxifen (used primarily to fight off breast cancer cells).