Although you may have heard about many different anti-cancer diets, most of them share common elements. Cancer is a systemic disease with various causes. One extremely important way to prevent and/or treat cancer is nutritionally.
A cancer (or anti-cancer) diet consists of:
- Lowering toxin intake
- Supporting the body’s cleansing and detoxifying processes
- Eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods to support all of your body’s functions
Lowering Toxin Load
Reduce or eliminate the following to halt toxin accumulation and cellular damage in the body:
Animal Products with Hormones and Antibiotics: Don’t be fooled by “natural” or “free-range” labels: buy pasture-fed, locally raised animal products that are hormone and antibiotic-free.
Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine and sucralose generate damaging free radicals in the body. High fructose corn syrup, although manufacturers refer to it as a “natural” sweetener, is so highly processed that it can be said to be artificial and contributes to yeast growth in the body among other negative health effects.
Electromagnetic Waves: Cell phones, TV’s, computer screens, microwaves—even the wiring in our homes and basic appliances emit constant electromagnetic frequencies or EMF’s that disturb the bioelectrical functioning of our bodies. Cell phone use has been linked to a host of cancer-promoting processes. Limit your exposure by getting rid of your microwave, as it is your largest source for EMF’s, and making use of headphones with your cell phone.
Food Additives: Nitrates, sulfites, food dyes and coloring and MSG have all been linked to free radical damage in the body. Avoid consuming products that contain unknown and unpronounceable ingredients.
Health and Beauty Products: The things we put in our mouths and use on our skin are often loaded with potent carcinogens. Visit the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep product look-up to determine the toxins in your favorite products.
Household Cleaners: Indoor environments are often concentrated sources of pollution. Lower your toxin load by switching to natural cleaners or making your own.
Medications: All medications pass through and burden the liver. Acetaminophen is rapidly overtaking alcohol as the number one cause of liver disease. Work with your physician to lessen the amount of medications you are taking.
Pasteurized Products: It’s not just milk. Yogurts, fruit juices, and many of the foods in our grocery stores have been treated with a high heat process that destroys nutrients and generates free radicals in the body. Pasteurization is used as a substitute for proper sanitation and to unnaturally prolong the shelf life of foods.
Pesticides and Herbicides: Industrial farming practices have loaded our produce, air, water, soil and animals at the bottom of the food chain with noxious chemicals. Buy organic and locally to reduce your intake of these poisons.
Plastics: Compounds in plastic containers, the lining of metal cans and paperboard containers and plastic wrap all leach compounds that disrupt the neuroendocrine system.
Processed and Refined Foods: Our bodies make best use of food in its natural state. The more processes and alterations that a food goes through, the more unnatural and harmful it becomes. Refined sugar and flour, boxed pastas and frozen dinners, powdered cheese and heat-treated oils—these are at the heart of a whole host of diseases and disorders.
Subsidized agricultural products: Wheat, soy and corn products are highly subsidized by the US government and highly processed and refined. Food allergies to these substances are subsequently on the rise and can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and improper nutrient absorption. These foods are often loaded with pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals. More and more, the seeds from which they are grown are genetically engineered. Buy organic, sprouted whole grains and avoid processed soy products.
Water: Our water contains hundreds of unregulated substances from pesticides and heavy metals to hormones and other pollutants. Bottled water is even less regulated. Buy a filter to remove chlorine, fluoride and other pollutants from the water you drink and cook with.
Cleansing and Detoxification
Even if you eat healthy foods regularly, environmental toxins bombard you at all turns. The organs of detoxification and elimination–the skin, respiratory system, kidney, liver and digestive tract–often get overburdened and re-circulate toxins in the bloodstream.
Practicing a cleanse or detox every few months can help these organs “catch up” and dispose of toxins stored in cells and tissue.
Colon and liver cleanses can be accomplished with a variety of herbs, green drinks and easily digested whole foods such as juiced vegetables or those that are lightly steamed.
Healthy Food Choices
Many cancer diets advise the use of supplements. Although certain supplements can be very helpful, in general, the best source of nutrients and antioxidants is through whole foods. When ingredients are isolated from their natural complexes, we lose many mysterious benefits and concentrate ingredients in unnatural ways.
Two popular cancer diets are those of Dr. Robert Young and Dr. Johanna Budwig.
Dr. Young’s research concerns our pH: the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. Our Western diet and lifestyle, along with the many pollutants and toxins that we encounter every day disturb our pH levels, contributing to acidosis and the development of disease.
Dr. Young recommends drinking alkaline water which you can create by adding lemon or lime juice and/or a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.
Young also promotes a diet consisting of 80% raw foods, especially green vegetables. Although fiber is an important part of digestion, elimination, detoxification and a source of probiotic support—too much fiber can stress a weakened or hyper-reactive immune system. Juicing, steaming and lightly cooking raw foods, using green powders and cutting back on or eliminating whole grains can ease digestion and make many nutrients more readily available.
Johanna Budwig created her anticancer diet in 1951. A German biochemist, Budwig found that cancer patients were deficient in phosphatides and lipoproteins. She discovered that replenishing these compounds reduced tumor growth, anemia and many other symptoms of the disease.
The Budwig diet promotes the use of linoleic acid. The combination of cottage cheese and unrefined, cold-pressed oils such as flax seed oil, linseed, sunflower and walnut oils interact to release each other’s beneficial compounds.
Budwig’s diet also promotes the use of carbohydrates containing natural sugars such as dates, figs, apples, pears and grapes. The carotenoids in orange and red fruits and vegetables contain valuable antioxidants and support immune function. Johanna recommends the use of freshly-squeezed juices, teas and steamed whole grains. During this treatment, the doctor prohibits the use of other animal fats, meats, butter and margarine.
My Healing Diet makes use of concepts from each of these doctors’ diets. If you are recovering from cancer or any other disease be sure to print off a copy to hang on your refrigerator and/or take to the store with you.
Your best bet, to combat cancer and a host of other conditions, is to eat real food and eat low on the food chain.
Other foods and supplements that have proven useful in combating cancer include:
Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3 fatty acid): Omega-3 fatty acids are getting so much attention because the Western diet is so unbalanced with an overabundance of omega-6’s. Omega-3’s have a host of health benefits and research is still underway to validate their benefits in combating cancer.
Beta-carotene: The orange-red plant compounds found in fruits and vegetables are the precursors to Vitamin A, a potent antioxidant that is proving helpful to those with breast and ovarian cancer.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli sprouts, cabbage and kale are all members of the Brassica or Cruciferous family. Research has found that these vegetables are a potent source of antioxidants and studies find them to be powerful weapons against bladder, breast, colon, prostrate, stomach and rectal cancers.
CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid boosts the immune system and reduces colon and rectal cancers.
Coriolus Mushrooms: These mushrooms have specific polysaccharides that boost the immune system, reduce tumor growth and combat cancer.
Folic Acid: Folic acid is crucial to DNA production and has been found to be effective against breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.
Garlic: Allium vegetables such as garlic, onions and chives have antibacterial properties, DNA-defense and cancer-halting processes that seem to work against breast, colon, esophageal, rectal and stomach cancers.
Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate our sleep and waking cycles. This hormone’s levels are closely linked to immune system function. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep and reducing stress will boost your melatonin levels.
Olive Oil: Olive oil contains phytonutrients that seem to reduce inflammation in the body. It may reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancers.
Oolong Tea: Oolong contains theophyllines and theobromines (also in green tea) that reduce the risk of many cancers.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): This vitamin has been found to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and boost immune system function.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is necessary for many bodily functions, especially the immune system. It has proven to be effective in battling breast cancer and head and neck tumors. Vitamin A may prove useful in battling cervical, colorectal, esophageal, ovarian, pancreatic and stomach cancers.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant the aids the immune system. It has proven effective (in whole food form—not supplements) against bladder, breast and mouth cancers.