Cancer is a frightening illness, and even hearing the word can be scary. The truth is that we all carry cancer cells in our bodies. The question is whether or not those cells are going to grow into tumors or not.
My friend Susan Silberstein over at BeatCancer.org believes as I do “that 90% of all cancers can be eliminated through environment & lifestyle choices alone, and science agrees.” Genetics plays only a small role, and genes can be turned on or off depending on our diet and lifestyle choices. Thus, it’s comforting to know that there are dietary ways that can help you prevent and fight cancer. Here is Mother Nature’s cancer prescription.
There are a few wise, general rules to follow in any cancer-preventing or cancer-fighting diet.
First, variety is essential. Second, that variety needs to be plant-based, meaning the greater variety of fruits and vegetables you consume, the better. Third, the variety of plants you eat need to be whole and natural, not processed (in other words, buy a bunch of fresh, organic spinach rather than a package frozen, prepared spinach dip). Fourth, you want to try to keep your body in an alkaline state as much possible and fifth, you want to try to keep your bodies inflammation down.
Cancer can’t live in an alkaline state so trying to focus your diet on foods that help promote alkalinity is one important key. Dr. Jacquilen Tomas-Ali, ND over at BeatCancer.org says the following “There will be occasions when you will eat foods that are considered more acidic. Eat those foods on a limited basis. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. Once health is restored, to maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods.”
Here is a partial list that she provides:
|Melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.)||Green Leafy Vegetables (collards, kale, spinach, etc.)|
|Berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.)||Carrots|
|Lemons & Limes||Cucumbers|
|Figs & Dates||Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts|
|Papaya||As many raw vegetables as possible|
In addition, include lots of good quality drinking water. Cancer also loves sugar so trying to keep your sugar load down is also another important key. Applying these general guidelines to all the foods you buy will go a long way in promoting cancer prevention.
Cancer Preventing Foods
So now let’s look at some of those food and spice choices that follow the guidelines above:
- Whole grains are an important source of inositol hexaphosphate, a form of B vitamin that is a cancer fighter.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain D-glucaric acid, which is an anti-cancer phytochemical. (“Phytochemical” refers to any chemical component found in plants.)
- Berries protect DNA from damage; the multiplication of cells with damaged DNA is how cancer forms.
- Cherries, particularly tart ones, contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. You can also try tart cherry extract supplements.
- Garlic and onions have sulfides, immune-enhancers and cancer-fighters. Be sure to crush or chop garlic before consuming; this treatment enhances the cancer-fighting properties.
- Bell peppers are rich in cancer-fighting Vitamin C, an antioxidant.
- Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
- Red clover can be used in salads, and is a good anti-cancer food.
- Citrus fruits contain the anti-cancer compound limonene.
- Raw almonds have amygdalin, which is anti-cancer, and calcium, which is also implicated in cancer prevention. (Note – dairy products are not a good source of calcium for those on an anti-cancer diet and diary increases inflammation and is hard to digest.)
- Brazil nuts contain selenium; low levels of this substance are associated with increased cancer risk.
- Mushrooms, specifically shitake, reishi, and maitake enhance the immune system and help the body fight cancer cells.
- Beans and lentils have inositol hexaphosphate, the same form of B vitamin found in whole grains. Serve up the beans and whole grain brown rice! And add liberal amounts of some of the following spices.
Spices for Cancer Prevention
Remember the song about “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”? That combination of herbs makes an excellent anti-cancer blend. All four of these flavor-enhancers have anti-cancer properties. Rosemary in particular is under scrutiny as a cancer therapy due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
- Cumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- Cayenne pepper has anti-cancer capsaicin
- Turmeric is anti-inflammatory
- Ginger is a pungent anti-inflammatory spice
Bear in mind, too, that the National Institutes in Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day and if you are a person who exercises three-four times a week you will need more like nine-fourteen. Here’s where a blender can come in very handy – you can toss in five different fruits and veggies, add some filtered water, and create a healthful smoothie.
Michele Broad NP-C