The possibility of using food to influence our health and halt cancer has intrigued patients and researchers for years.
New, science-based studies are revealing remarkable links between nutrition and the chemistry of cancer. If you’re interested in lowering your body’s risk of reocurrence by strengthening your immune system with food, here are some notes from my research that may help.
Fundamentally, anti-cancer diets are plant based and include a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. Organic foods are preferable because of the conventional use of cancer-linked pesticides or antibiotics. And, natural, non-preserved foods offer the most nutritional value with the lowest chemical risk.
We’ve all known about fiber’s role in flushing the body‘s digestive system, making it critical to the prevention of colon cancer. But in addition, fiber binds to toxins to expedite their elimination.
As irritating as this may be to meat lovers, plants are less fat, loaded with fiber (which meat totally lacks), and are bursting with cancer-fighting nutrients (also not found in meat products.) The animal may have been raised on hormones or antibiotics, which can pass to the consumer, but meat also contains high amounts of saturated fat which is linked to higher cancer rates. And, some preparations of meat can create carcinogenic conditions.
To cut to the core: research shows that vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. Anti-cancer diets recommend 12 ounces of organic grass-fed red meat per week.
Better sources of protein are fish/shellfish (especially wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, eel and albacore), omega-3 enriched eggs, vegetable proteins (beans, peas, lentils, mung beans), and soy (unless you have estrogen-related cancer).
“Good” oils are olive oil, flaxseed oil, omega-3 butter or margarine, cod-liver oil, and canola. To get the health benefits, cook oils at a low heat because high turns oils or fats carcinogenic. Bake, boil, steam or broil foods for higher value and less danger.
Foods to avoid because they have carcinogens: preserved, cured, dried, smoked, burned or charred. Avoid moldy meat which forms aflatoxin, a strong carcinogen. If you microwave, use wax paper or microwave-proof containers.
My husband sometimes asks, are we reduced to eating bark? No! There are so many wonderful, flavorful foods that are recommended for their anti-cancer benefits. So if you’re serious about wanting to enhance your well-being, read on…
Load up on berries (ellagic acid and polyphenols), cherries (glucaric acid), citrus fruit (flavonoids) persimmons and apricots (Vitamin A and lycopene) and pomegranates. Also include walnuts and hazelnuts (omega-3 and magnesium), pecans (ellagic acid) and almonds (magnesium) into your diet. For probiotics, eat organic yogurt, sauerkraut or kimchee. Eat seaweed (fucoidan) and mushrooms (polysaccharides and lentinian) and all forms of whole grains and rice, quinoa and bulgur, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rye, barley and spelt. Learn to cook with turmeric (preferably mixed with black pepper and olive oil), curry, mint, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, celery, cinnamon, and ginger. Add garlic, onion, leeks, shallots and chives. Learn to love any form of cabbage, carrots, yams, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, beets and especially spinach. And, of course, fish.
Finally, drink plenty of water.
Okay . . . many healthy eaters still get cancer. But if it can help me feel better and stay stronger, it’s worth it.