Dr. Donald Abrams is devoted to integrative medicine and oncology. He sees an excellent diet as an important part of the fight against cancer. He recommends a diet that is heavily plant-based, with the addition of some animal protein, fat and especially fish. He puts particular emphasis on the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, turmeric and omega-3 fats in deep coldwater fish.
Dr. Abrams is chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Fransisco General Hospital.
(Transcribed from video interview)
I think the foods that are best used in anyone’s fight against cancer, but particularly a woman, are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Our diet should be, as much as possible, plant-based. However, I don’t think that people fighting cancer benefit from being vegetarian, vegan, or focusing on a raw foods diet because I believe that we do need some animal protein and fat and particularly fish.
So, among the vegetables, I think cruciferous vegetables really offer the best plant nutrients or phytonutrients. They contain something called indole-3-carbinol, which we believe is such a potent cancer risk reducer that we are actually now trying to look at it as a possible chemotherapy agent.
For women with breast cancer, cruciferous vegetables also contain something called DIM, which is an estrogen modifier, which seems to be an advantageous compound for fighting breast cancer.
Heavily pigmented fruits, berries, grapes are also very good. I might say that I also recommend that my patients try as much as possible to eat organic and that’s not only to eliminate sprays, pesticides, fertilizers, etcetera, but a plant that’s grown outdoors organically needs to fight. It needs to fight against other plants, against insects and birds, and against the sunshine, and the only way plants can fight is to produce chemicals. And those chemicals that the plant produces in its effort to survive are the chemicals the plant nutrients, the phytonutrients that we benefit from.
A tomato grown indoors in a hot house that’s coddled and doesn’t need to fight doesn’t produce the same amount of plant nutrients that an organic tomato does.