Did you know that if you live in the USA, you have about a one in five chance of dying of cancer and double that of being diagnosed? And that the various forms of this terrible disease are responsible for close to 2000 deaths every single day? Don’t think you are better off in other parts of the world either. Levels are rife throughout the Western world. However, before you simply give in to the inevitable, what if there were simple steps that you could take to reduce your risks? Welcome to the anti-cancer diet.
Fighting Cancer with Food
Clearly diet alone isn’t going to solve this situation and getting regular medical check-ups should be a priority for everyone. However, studies have shown that what is on your plate can make a huge difference. So what do you need to know? Of course, the science of an anti-cancer diet is actually fairly involved. Understanding the exact role of something like insulin-like growth factor and its effects of cancer growth is somewhat beyond the scope of this article. However, you can make a pretty big difference to your health with just a little knowledge
The first key point is that cancer grows in an essentially acid environment. This means that alkaline-forming foods like fruits and vegetables are very important. In fact, a high percentage of plant-based foods should be eaten daily. Of course, if you are smoking a packet a day, this isn’t going to guarantee that you stay lung cancer free!
Some of these vegetables and fruits really are superfoods and more and more research is being done every day to back this up. You may have heard that it is important to eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts or cauliflower, for example. These have been found to work well for weight loss, particularly in the fight against the dreaded belly fat. Recent findings suggest that the high levels of sulphoraphane might also be a useful ally in an anti cancer diet. Replacing pasta and fried potatoes with non-starchy vegetables and sweet potatoes is also simply a good move for your general health. Given that rates of serious diseases including cancer are higher in the overweight, it makes sense to stay as lean as possible too. Whether you choose to do this through a ketogenic diet, a macrobiotic diet or even some form of slim cleanse, simply losing those excess pounds is a big step in the right direction for most of us.
Different fruits have different nutritional advantages, so it is smart to vary what you eat from day to day. An easy way to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck is to pick several different colours daily, for example combining the dark purple of blueberries with the orange or lemon of citrus fruit. If you do this, you are taking an important step in the fight against cell damage from free radicals.
Olive Oil: A Healthy Fat
There are other foods that seem to fight against the cancer cells themselves. Something that has long been seen as a staple of healthy living, olive oil, is one such food. If you have ever read about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, you will no doubt have seen just how important a high quality, cold-pressed virgin olive oil is. Cancer levels are significantly lower in some populations where this has always been part of the traditional diet. The essential fatty acids it contains as well as the phytochemicals certainly seem to inhibit cancer cell growth making it a valuable part of an anticancer diet.
You shouldn’t restrict yourself to just olive oil. There are other types that are also on the list of cancer-fighting foods. What about flaxseed oil? This is another weapon that will help keep you healthy by providing quality fats.
You might be wondering if certain foods act on particular types of cancer. For example, you may have heard that soy products like tofu are effective for breast cancer. Research here is still in the early stages, but there are some obvious links. For example, the typical Western diet is low in fiber which puts us at an increased risk of colon cancer and colorectal cancer. There is even a suggested link between fiber and prostate cancer.
Getting more fiber is an easy thing to do through sensible eating choices. Choosing whole grains as well as making sure you include beans, legumes, leafy green vegetables, nuts and flax seeds (and flax oil) will ensure that you are getting enough.
It really isn’t that difficult to remember what you should and shouldn’t be eating. For example, nutritional expert Dr Fuhrman suggests the useful GOMBBS approach, otherwise known as the gombs diet.
- S:Seeds and Nuts
Really, just following this simple acronym will make a huge difference.These are all things that look extremely promising as anti-cancer foods and they are all easy to integrate into anyone’s daily diet. Just add a delicious salad of leafy vegetables to every meal. If you remember these G-bombs, you are already on the right lines.
Another simple addition is to add a couple of cups of green tea every day. Green tea contains polyphenols which scientists believe may fight cancer by slowing or even stopping damaged cell multiplication or development. This backs up the traditional view of green tea as a cancer killer that is common in several cultures worldwide.
What is the Budwig Protocol?
There are of course many anti-cancer diet protocols that already exist. One of the best-known is the Budwig Diet, named after Dr Johanna Budwig, a German biochemist who was actually one of the world’s leading experts on fats and oils and was nominated several times for a Nobel prize. This approach is used by many not only to prevent cancer or reduce the risk of cancer, but also as part of cancer treatment for those who are actually suffering from its various forms. So what is it exactly?
Lots of people think of the budwig protocol as being the flax and cottage cheese diet. It is more complicated than that, but her research showed that processed fats and oils which are so common in the modern diet actually harm our cells on the electrical level. Just by using a simple combination of these two ingredients, we can effectively “recharge” our cell’s batteries and make them far more resistant to chronic disease and especially cancer. This doesn’t mean eating a low-fat diet, it means replacing transformed fats with natural, healthy fats.
There is a host of both scientific and anecdotal support for Budwig and given that it relies on a relatively simple and inexpensive method, it is certainly worth doing to see the potential benefits that it brings.
So what about meat? Red meat in particular is often cited as being one of the causes of cancer or at least something to be avoided as much as possible. It is important to differentiate between some of the processed meats you find on your supermarket shelf and organic, grass-fed meat for example. Cheaper products really should be avoided. They offer no real nutritional advantages and there is a good chance that they are full of chemical additives, low-quality fats and salt as well as traces of things like hormones, pesticides and other nasty substances that are used in industrial farming to increase production.
If you can find meat from a high-quality source, this can be a valuable way of increasing protein. A plant-based diet tends to be lower in protein so this can be important.
The other food group that gets a lot of press in relation to cancer is dairy products. As already said, something like cottage cheese is actually a great thing to be eating if you are looking to combat cancer. As with meat though, not all dairy is created equally. A recent study cited on nih gov has actually suggested a link between these foods and various forms of cancer such as ovarian, breast and testicular cancers. Research is far from over on this point because others have said that certain products could actually help fight against cancer! What is certain is that low-quality dairy should be off your shopping list.
Making simple diet changes can really make a huge difference in reducing your chances of contracting cancer. Fortunately, these changes are neither complicated nor expensive and rely on whole foods rather than over-priced supplements. Basing your diet around fruits and vegetables makes sense for so many reasons, from weight loss to improved energy levels. Keeping cancer at bay is just one more argument for eating quality, whole foods and staying away from processed goods with little nutritional value.