Dr. Heidi Rula Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Posted 1 year ago

10 Ways to Restore Health

Dr. Heidi Rula is sharing 10 Ways to Restore Health in 2019 so you can put cancer in your rear-view mirror. Restoring health after cancer treatment is an achievable goal that is within your reach. We know that a majority of cancers have a lifestyle component that contributes to their cause, so it only makes sense that a way to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence is to optimize your lifestyle to promote health.


Tobacco use is linked to the development of many cancers and is a very addictive substance.  Put a game plan in place to help you quit.  Check out such resources as the Arizona Smoker’s Hotline, talk with your doctor about the different tobacco cessation medications that are available and look into using acupuncture to help you quit.  This is one of the MOST important things you can do for your health!


Although moderate alcohol intake can have a positive impact on heart health, even small amounts of alcohol intake can contribute to an increased risk of cancer recurrence; the higher the intake, the greater the risk.  I generally advise that if alcohol is a substance that is important to your quality of life that you limit your intake to three servings or less a week.


Increased body fat is a risk factor for cancer recurrence.  It has been shown that people are most successful at losing weight when they have a support system.  Create that support system for yourself, whether you partner up with a family member or friend or join a weight loss program, find something that will keep you accountable.


Your mother was right; these foods are important for health and have shown to decrease the risk of many chronic diseases as well as decreasing the risk of cancer recurrence.  The goal is to eat at least 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day.


Processed meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs have been classified as carcinogens by the World Health Organization and are best to limit to a few servings a month or less.  Red meat like beef, lamb, and pork have also been associated with an increased risk of cancer.  It is best to limit these to one serving a week or less.


Exercise is one of the most powerful tools you have within your control to positively impact your health.  It has been shown that individuals who get at least three hours of exercise a week can significantly lower their risk of cancer recurrence and lower their risk for many other chronic diseases as well.


For many individuals, it is not realistic to eliminate some of the big stressors in their lives, but it is possible to develop tools that help you become more resilient to the effects of stress.   Using breathing exercises after a stressful event to help calm down and dedicating 15 minutes a day to practices like yoga, meditation or, progressive muscle relaxation can help lower the impact of stress on your health.  Some of my favorite Apps that you can download are Calm and Headspace.


Many times, in a hectic week we sacrifice sleep to get everything done.  Unfortunately, this is harmful to your health.  Sleep is the time where the body recovers each day and is an important way for the body to stay healthy. It should be a non-negotiable in your schedule to get  7-8 hours of sleep a day.


Cancer many times fills one’s life with worry and stress.  Regain your life by focusing on what brings you joy.   Some helpful strategies are practicing mindfulness and gratitude, focusing on activities that give your life meaning and purpose and working on self-care.


Vitamin D not only is important for bone health but also plays a big role in immune health.  Although there is some controversy around the optimal level – I generally recommend that my patients achieve a 25(OH) Vitamin D level of 40-60.

I would like to invite you to attend my special Survivorship Series: An Integrative Approach to Cancer Survivorship on Tuesday September 17, 2019 at the Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers Chandler Business office 700 W. Warner Rd. Chandler, AZ 85225.  The event is from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. 

About the Author

Dr. Heidi Rula Integrative Oncology Ironwood Cancer & Research CentersDr. Heidi Rula joined Ironwood in 2018 to launch the Integrative Oncology program.  She is board certified in family medicine and fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine. 

Dr. Rula has been a practicing physician in the Phoenix area for approximately 20 years and has been recognized by her colleagues as one of Phoenix’s “Top Doctors” on multiple occasions.  She sees patients at Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers Chandler, Scottsdale, and Glendale offices.

For more information on Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers, please visit www.ironwoodcrc.com.