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How to live longer: The herbal extract that may offer some protection against cancer

One particular item that may boast anti-cancer properties is echinacea extract.

Echinacea is the name of a group of flowering plants in the daisy family that are native to North America.

According to research into its medicinal use, this group has nine species, but only three are used in herbal supplements — Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida.

Both the plant’s upper parts and roots are used in tablets, tinctures, extracts and teas.

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It’s believed that this effect occurs due to echinacea’s immune-boosting properties.

There was some concern that echinacea could interact with conventional cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, but newer studies have found no interaction.

What to avoid

In addition to making healthy lifestyle decisions, certain habits have been shown to raise your risk of cancer so are best to be avoided.

According to Cancer Research UK, not smoking is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.

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The charity explains: “Chemicals in cigarette smoke get into our blood stream and can cause damage around the body.”

Processed meat may also raise your risk of cancer so it is advisable to avoid it where possible or cut down.

Research has found an increased risk of cancer for every 25 grams of processed meat a person eats a day, which is just around a rasher of bacon or a slice of ham.

The Department of Health recommends that people who eat a lot of meat should cut down to 70 grams or less per day, which is around three slices of ham.

According to Cancer Research UK, it’s thought that the chemicals either found in the meat, added during processing or produced when cooking increase the risk of cancer by damaging our cells.

As the charity explains, eating lots of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer.

There is also some evidence for an increased risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer.

“More expensive or organic processed and red meat are not necessarily any healthier, so it’s better to cut down altogether rather than to switch to these,” it adds.

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