The “Queen of Soul” has left us. Just after it was announced that she was in hospice care in her hometown of Detroit, the news broke that Aretha Franklin had passed.
She’d been battling pancreatic cancer – a notoriously aggressive form of the disease with one of the worst survival rates (in fact, its five-year survival rate is downright abysmal).
Now, we don’t know the details of her diagnosis or treatment, and maybe we never will.
But there’s one thing we do know about pancreatic cancer that certainly could relate to the soulful singer: It’s been linked to obesity.
Now, Ms. Franklin was never a skinny little thing, but we did see her struggling on stage as she carried some extra weight (in some cases, a lot of extra weight) later in her career.
I’m sure that certainly didn’t help.
In fact, there are a dozen different types of cancer that have been linked to excess body weight – and most are cancers of the digestive system.
Those are the types of cancers that have been on the rise over the last few years, while the incidence of cancers NOT related to obesity has been dropping.
You see, obesity increases inflammation throughout your body and undermines your immune defenses, both of which can help cancerous tumors grow and spread.
Not only that, but those "spare tires" and "muffin tops" can hijack your hormones and spike your insulin levels, spurring on cancer.
And a recent study showed that surplus fat cells can actually "communicate" with cancer cells and encourage tumor growth!
But no matter which theory holds the most "weight," one thing is clear: Maintaining a healthy number on the scale will make it less likely that you'll wind up with a tumor somewhere in your body.
If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that I recommend the Paleo diet as a common-sense approach to eating clean and fueling your body with only the good stuff.
And exercising for just 20 minutes a day can keep cancer away – it’s really that simple.
But there are some other things you can do, too.
For instance, when you’re eating and exercising “like a caveman,” make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D by bulking up on your leafy greens and spending plenty of time outdoors soaking up the “sunshine vitamin.”
A 2016 study showed that people who live in areas with low UVB rays are six times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
Just to be sure, take a vitamin D supplement as well.
What’s more, in 2015, researchers found that supplementing with something else helped fight off pancreatic cancer, too: magnesium.
Not only that, but NOT taking a magnesium supplement daily seriously increased the odds of getting the deadly disease. For every decrease in daily dosage by 100 mg, the occurrence of pancreatic cancer increased by 24 percent.
Finally, infected gums have also been linked to pancreatic cancer, so brush your teeth for a solid two minutes at least twice a day AND floss every single tooth at least once a day.
Believe me, you don’t want to mess with pancreatic cancer. And the best way to beat it is to never get it in the first place.
Rest easy, Aretha.