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Brain cancer specialist reveals the things she eats and does every day to slash risk of getting the disease

Brain cancer specialist reveals the things she eats and does every day to slash risk of getting the disease

Dr Sara Meade says we have to give ourselves 'the best chance' of avoiding brain cancer

A brain cancer specialist has revealed the things she eats and does every day to slash her risk of getting the disease.

Every year in the UK more than 12,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour and about half of those turn out to be cancerous.

A truly cruel disease, only around 17 out of every 100 people with one will go on to survive five years or more after their diagnosis.

And while the cause of most brain tumours isn’t known, experts say there are lifestyle changes that can be made to potentially reduce the risk.

Consultant clinical neuro-oncologist at Birmingham’s The Harborne Hospital, Dr Sara Meade told MailOnline the healthy habits she follows to help keep her brain healthy.

Getting enough sleep

Having a good sleep every night can help our brains as Dr Meade says ‘we all function better’ when following a healthy sleep pattern.

Getting some good shut eye is important. (Getty Stock Photo)
Getting some good shut eye is important. (Getty Stock Photo)

It’s recommended that healthy adults sleep for about seven to nine hours a night.

“While everyone’s sleep needs are slightly different when it comes to length of sleep, good quality sleep is crucial for a healthy mind and maintaining cognitive function,” the expert says.

While more research needs to be done about the direct link between sleep and cancer risk, Meade adds: “Those with poor sleep hygiene can often be overweight, have a poor diet, have poor working patterns, so often it all goes hand in hand.

“It can lead to poor judgment, impaired decision making. After a bad nights’ sleep you might lean on things you wouldn’t normally like bad diet choices.”

It's important to eat well lads. (Getty stock)
It's important to eat well lads. (Getty stock)

A balanced and healthy diet

The doctor says healthy eating ‘is a cornerstone of maintaining good health’.

Eating things like oily fish will give you important omega-3 fatty acids which aid brain health as well as having less fatty and sugary foods to help maintain a healthy weight.

But Dr Meade stresses that it’s unlikely one singular food will make a definite impact on your risk.

“There is no strong evidence base that you need to eat a specific thing to avoid brain cancer, it’s all about eating well and maintaining normal weight for general health,” she said.

Fresh air and exercise

One for the runners to add to their smugness - the expert believes doing enjoyable, active things are vital for good brain health - as she aims to do something every day for both her physical and mental health.

Doing something active each day is helpful. (Getty stock)
Doing something active each day is helpful. (Getty stock)

“This could be going for a swim, which is my favourite hobby for fitness and well-being, taking a walk with my family, the dog, or a friend, or even something as simple as stepping out of the clinical area for 20 minutes to get a coffee with a colleague,” she explains.

“Engaging in activities that bring joy helps reduce stress and promotes a positive outlook on life. In turn, this helps maintain good physical and mental health.”

She adds: “Although there is not a specific brain cancer risk to not being active, it’s applicable to reducing risk of all cancer generally.”

Balancing stress

Keeping stress at bay is of course vital to keeping a healthy mind. And while there is not enough evidence to show that people who get more stressed are likely to get cancer, Dr Meade argues that managing it will help you have a better ‘quality of life’.

Every day, she ‘plans ahead’ to keep her ‘organised, reduce stress and maintain a balance’ to support her overall well-being.

“It’s all about giving ourselves the best chance. A lot of us can’t control whether we will or won’t get brain cancer in our lives,” the expert explains.

“For the vast majority of people there is nothing they have done wrong in their lives to cause it, brain cancer is very often very random and sporadic. But it's about giving yourself the best chance of longevity and quality of life.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty stock

Topics: Health, Cancer, Lifestyle