Cancer’s Link to Your Diet

June 21, 2017

Cancer's Link to Your Diet - Dr.AxeAlthough 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.

Cancer Diet

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.

Calcium: Calcium, particularly in natural Vitamin D3 form, reduces the incidence of cancer by 60%. Sunlight and marine oils such as cod liver oil or krill oil are great sources.

Chorella, Blue-green algae and Spirullina:  These single-celled animals are a source of Vitamin B12 and bind with heavy metals, eliminating them from the body.

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.

Green Tea: The polyphenols in green tea are powerful antioxidants that have been found to destroy leukemic cells in lab cultures. They seem to recognize and halt the proliferation of abnormal cells.

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.

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Josh Axe

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  1. Laura Dilliha on

    <p>Hello, <br/>I have noticed that drinking alot of green tea makes me feel like I am getting a bladder infection. I feel like my bladder is full and am not able to empty it. I have tested it several times, because I want to drink the green tea, but when I stop, I feel better. Should I change from bottled store-bought Green Tea to brewing fresh green tea? <br/>LD-Russellville KY</p>

  2. sunshine on

    <p>Hey Dr. Axe, the &quot;healthy and natural stuff&quot; – market is so confusing and misleading… What is the type of dishwasher and laundry detergent that you suggest? Also, I’d like to know which brand we have to look for when buying cod liver oil or capsules. <br/>Thank you!</p>

  3. Daniel on

    <p>I’ve thrown out our microwave because of these studies, and we haven’t missed it. I eat leftovers cold or reheated on the stove.</p>

  4. Allen on

    <p>Please explain how alkaline vs acidic foods can affect the body’s awesome control of pH. The body will keep its pH between 7.35-7.45 range but mostly 7.40. The pH of water is acidic at 7.00 to the body. Water with lemon, which has a pH of 2.0-3.0, would be very acidic like a soda. I am confused how that would be an alkaline drink. What role do foods play when the kidneys can secrete or retain H+ ions or bicarbonate ions with the lungs ability to control CO2 and keep a very narrow range of pH?</p>

  5. Dr. Axe on

    <p>Hi Allen,</p><p>Great question. The key isn’t necessarily always what your body pH is (even though it’s important)… It’s how hard your body is having to work to balance your pH levels. If your kidney’s are working very hard to balance pH, they can wear out early and you can eventually develop kidney failure. Also, even though some foods like lemons are acidic, researchers like Robert Young have found that they have more of an alkaline effect on your body. Also, with something like osteoporosis, many believe that calcium is pulled out of the bone to buffer your pH and so that leads to osteoporosis. Your body does have an amazing ability to detoxify and balance itself out, but the body can only take so much.</p>

  6. Dr. Axe on

    <p>sunshine, <br/>There are many different brands of detergents like Seventh Generation, Shaklee and Ecos that are great options. You can even find recipes online to make your own cleaners. <br/>As far as cod liver oil, your best bet will be the liquid form as the capsules tend to go rancid faster. Carlson’s or Nordic Naturals are good brands and they even have a lemon flavor.</p>

  7. Peggy on

    <p>Dear Dr. Axe,</p><p>I am a one year, 10 month, 25 day breast cancer survivor. My older sister is also a breast cancer survivor. Our younger sister is a true believer in your theories. She says she will never have a mammogram. Although, I too believe diet is an important part of fighting cancer, there is a strong hereditary line of breast cancer in our family. I found my tumor and it was rather large, 10 months after I had a mammogram and an ultra sound. I lost a breast and endured all the traditional cancer treatments. I do NOT want to ever see my sisters go through the same ordeal. Is there a study out there showing one way verses another-not a statement saying some-but actual proof if my cancer comes back, with nutrition, I can beat the cancer once again?</p>

  8. Linda - Oregon on

    Great information. Thank you!

    Please provide information on how to acquire food grade, 35% hydrogen peroxide, if available in US retail stores. I have been looking for this just in the past week, locally, and get blank stares from all retailers and pharmacists.

  9. Debbie on

    Hi Dr. Axe,

    My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer today. You mention that a diet high in fruits &amp; veggies can help in managing the cancer but can it also eliminate it?

    Thanks much!

  10. leslie on

    i have cancer for the second time and someone recommended i go to your sight but my gosh it is overwhelming how do i start where do i begin help

    • leslie on

      also you say change things like dishwasher soap and laundry soap but change to what i know this may sound trivial but i am 50 and scared and i am going thru traditional medicine and have heard that since i have had cancer twice it is even easier to get it a third time. i believe there are cures for this but where maybe in china or europe . friends went out of the country for treatment but if you dont have the funds for that where do you turn,

  11. Misty on

    Hi :O
    Seventh Generation cleaning products have SLS…what do you think about that since most of your articles say to stay away from this? Also, do you know anything about the Martha Stewart Clean line?

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