Use Food As Medicine
According to Anand P. et al. (2008) ‘Only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle.’
So what can you do to lower your cancer risk? Nutrition plays an important part not only in the prevention of cancer, but also in its treatment. Inadequate or poor nutrition provides a favourable environment for cancer to grow and develop.
By consuming nutrient dense foods and changing the body’s environment, you deprive cancer of the nutrients it strives on. Thus, good nutrition supports the immune system, starves cancer cells and provides micro and macronutrients.
Nutrition and physical activity are the two most important aspects that can be modified to prevent cancers occurrence.
A healthy diet does not guarantee a life free from cancer. Other risk factors such as genetics, spirituality, and lifestyle are involved in cancer development. Following these factors you can lower your cancer risk. The following recommendations can help reduce the risk.
Eat a well-balanced diet. (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010) Whenever possible select food that is locally grown free of hormones, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotic residues.
Eating food grown without pesticides may protect against unhealthy cell changes associated with pesticide use in animal studies. When selecting food, select quality, balance, moderation and variation.
Select the food of highest quality, all natural, biologically grown, fresh, unprocessed, non-irradiated, and without synthetic chemicals. It is also beneficial to avoid frying, broiling, and microwave use.
Consider The Following Dietary Suggestions
Things To Avoid:
- Limit sweet foods and drinks as sugar increase the release of insulin and suppress the immune system.
- Avoid fried, greasy, creamy or rich or spicy, refined foods. (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010) junk foods (ACNT, 2010).
- Avoid Trans fatty acids (Trans fats) that are found in foods that are made with or cooked in partially hydrogenated fat. Hydrogenation is the changing of a liquid vegetable oil into a solid. Some crackers, potato chips, baked goods, deep-fried fast foods and margarines contain trans fats. Swap all Trans fats for healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, raw butter, and coconut oil.
- Avoid xenooesterogens (ACNT, 2010).
- Avoid processed meats. This includes items such as bacon, ham, salami, sausages, frankfurts. Processed meats are high in salt and fat they also contain additives and preservatives (Cancer Council, 2016) and nitrates.
- Limit the consumption of red meats. Eating red meat exposes us to dietary carcinogens such as N-nitroso compounds and heterocyclic amines (WCRF, 2007). Choose leaner cuts of meat and remove visible fat.
- Avoid alcohol as this increase the number of free radicals (ACNT, 2010).
- Stop smoking. (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010). Cigarettes, according to The Cancer Research United Kingdom (2014), contain many different chemicals that damage cells’ DNA. They further confirm that ‘smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer.’ Therefore, if you are still smoking, consider stopping for your health and the health of the people around you.
- Reduce exposure to environmental carcinogens, toxic substances, and radiation (PSR, 2016).
- Choose the healthiest lifestyle options possible, to empower yourself and reduce your risks.
You can read the FULL version of this article in our quarterly eZine, ‘Holistic Living Magazine,’ look for Edition 4 on this archive page. There’s many more articles about cancer waiting for you too!
Irene Vervliet – Naturopathic Doctor
American Institute of Cancer Research, (AICR) 2016, accessed 5/2/2016 http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_berries.html
Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116. Anand P, Kunnumakara A.B., Sundaram C., Harikumar K.B., Tharakan S. T.,Lai O.S., Sung B., and Aggarwal B.B. accessed 5/2/2016, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515569/
ACNT, 2010, ‘Herbal Advance Treatments Advanced 1 – Life Stages Module notes’, 2010, ACNT
Bone, K, 2010,’Cancer Support, A Comprehensive Review of Natural Options’, Medi Herb In Clinic Seminars.
Cancer council, 2010 ‘Cancer-prevention meat-and-cancer – Statement’ accessed 3/2/2016 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/1752/cancer-prevention/diet-exercise/nutrition-diet/other-foods-nutrients/meat-and-cancer-3/#7tGMsL6WkMoquzBZ.99
Cancer council, ‘Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish and Cancer Prevention – Position Statement’ accessed 3/2/2016 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/682/cancer-prevention/diet-exercise/nutrition-diet/other-foods-nutrients/fish-omega-3-and-cancer/#MeLmBKozwqE0HwDt.99
Cancer council, 2010, ‘Selenium and Cancer’, accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=2351
Cancer council, 2010, ‘Soy Foods and Cancer’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=368
Cancer council, 2010, ‘Fish, Omega-3 Fats and Cancer’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=266
Cancer council, 2010, ‘Fibre, Wholegrain Cereals and Cancer’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=363
Cancer council, 2010, ‘Physical Activity and Cancer’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=930
Cancer Research UK, 2015 Causes of cancer, 201 accessed 11 /2/2016, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer
Cancer prevention with freeze-dried berries and berry components, 2007, GD Stoner, LS Wang, N Zikri, T Chen, SS Hecht… – Seminars in cancer …, 2007 – Elsevier
Cook, T, 2010, ’Cancer Support, A Comprehensive Review of Natural Options’, MediHerb In Clinic Seminars.
Gonzalez CA, Pera G, Agudo A, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of stomach and oesophagus adenocarcinoma in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-EURGAST). International Journal of Cancer 2006; 118(10): 2559–2566.
Hayes JD, Kelleher MO, Eggleston IM. The cancer chemopreventive actions of phytochemicals derived from glucosinolates. European Journal of Nutrition 2008;47 Suppl 2:73-88.
National Cancer Institute , 2010, ‘Tea and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/tea
Mayo Clinic, 2010, accessed 27/6/2010 at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer/DS01076/DSECTION=alternative-medicine
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010, ‘Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.mskcc.org/patient_education/_assets/downloads-english/11.pdf, 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10065
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, ‘Beta-Carotene’ 2015, accessed 2/2/2016 https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/beta-carotene
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2010, ‘Smoking Cessation’ accessed 9/9/2010 at http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/2532.cfm
Physicians for Social Responsibility, ‘Cancer and Toxic Chemicals’ accessed 9/2/2016 at http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/confronting-toxics/cancer-and-toxic-chemicals.html
WCRF/AICR Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.: World Cancer Research Fund; 2007.
University of Maryland, 2010, ‘Green Tea’ accessed 25/6/2010 at http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm