I hate losing friends and loved one to any illness and disease. When we hear the word cancer the first thing that comes to mind is suffering, pain and death. We see it as a death sentence because in many cases it is. Sadly, cancer is still just as deadly as it was in 1971 when President Nixon declared war on cancer by initiating the National Cancer Act. Billions and Billions have been spent on finding the cure. Although those in the cancer world say progress has been made in the treatment of certain cancers it is still the 2nd leading cause of death in our country just behind heart and cardiovascular disease.
My next article will focus on special supplements, foods, herbs, spices and oils that have proven cancer prevention and killing ability.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer with the National Cancer Act. That was a blast of money, 1.9 billion dollars earmarked to set up research facilities to find a cure for cancer. There is much debate as to the results from the billions spent since. In all honesty, I could care less about the debate on results. Figures can be manipulated in so many ways. What I see is increasing rates of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other adverse health conditions. All of these are caused by the same unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.
When I began researching cancer years ago the recommendation were the same then as they are now. However, what seems very confusing is the contradiction of the messages. Many of the cancer organizations state that there is no scientific evidence that a plant based diet or specifically that certain vegetables and fruits have any anti cancer potential. Nor do they say to avoid junk foods just red meats, processed meats, dairy, excessive sun exposure and smoking. Yet in the same breath they do say to increase your intake of veggies and fruits as part of a cancer preventive lifestyle. Sooooo, why would say there is no scientific evidence that a plant based diet helps reduce the risk but them recommend eating more of them? Because evidence does exist and I have a few of the studies included in this blog.
Many, many studies have been published and peer reviewed that prove many of the compounds in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes can be cancer preventive and even help fight and help the body kill cancers. Yet we never hear the main stream medical community (many very courageous MD’s will encourage a lifestyle change but not the mainstream medical community) preach prevention by adopting a cancer preventive lifestyle that includes increasing plant based food intake to 5 to 9 servings a day, to increase exercise to 1 hour 5 days a week, to quiet smoking, dipping and chewing tobacco products, to highly limit alcohol consumption and to avoid dairy products, red meats, processed meats, smoked meats and foods that are chard or cooked at very high temperatures including fried foods.
Let’s talk about prevention and greatly reducing our risk of cancers. Certainly genetics play a role and in some cases ( a very small percentage) those genetic tendencies are very strong and hard to overcome. However, most of the genetic cancer potential has to be fertilized or pushed by lifestyle influences to manifest itself as cancer. Studies show that fast foods and processed foods are rich in toxic carcinogenic chemicals. If you eat enough of them you greatly increase your risk of cancers.
- Hotdogs and other processed meats
- Red meats
- Dairy products
- Smoked Charred and BBQ meats
- Chips of all kinds
- Microwave popcorn
- Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
- French fries
- Farm raised fish
- Artificial sweeteners
- High intake of refined sugars
- Artificial food coloring’s
- Air pollution
- Radon gas
For a list of the 15 foods you should really avoid to reduce your risk of cancer visit this page. http://preventionpulse.com/lifestyle/the-15-cancer-causing-foods-you-probably-eat-every-day/6/
There have been advances in treatments for cancers in pharmacological and surgical approaches and they save lives. However, in all but a couple of cancers, the rates keep growing. Prevention is what we should be talking about.
These figures are easily obtained if you want to research them. I have listed many links to studies below that paint the picture of cause and prevention.
Fang Fang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., the new study’s lead author, says that “dietary changes that include more fiber, fruit, and vegetables in the diet and less fat, sodium, and added sugar would be important for cancer survivors.”
Dr. Zhang’s advice reflects recommendations my colleagues and I recently made in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. We published six precautionary principles to reduce the risk of occurrence:
- Avoid dairy products to reduce risk of prostate cancer.
- Limit or avoid alcohol to reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, and breast.
- Avoid red and processed meat to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.
- Avoid grilled, fried, and broiled meats to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas.
- Women should consume soy products in adolescence to reduce risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer survivors should consume soy products to reduce risk of cancer recurrence and overall mortality.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to reduce risk of several forms of cancer.
- In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Yet evidence suggests it is the synergy of compounds working together in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.…AICR research finds that excess body fat increases the risk of 11 cancers. Vegetables and fruits are relatively low in calories. Whole grains and beans are rich in fiber, which also can help with weight management. That is one reason AICR recommends filling at least 2/3 of your plate with plant foods.Research on foods that fight cancer – and that may also aid cancer survival – is ongoing and active.
- Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
- When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid eating large portion sizes.
- Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
- Minimize your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
- Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).
- If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
- Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.
- Eat at least 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.
- Eat a large variety of vegetables and fruits each day. For maximum prevention and healing eat 9 to 13 servings per day!
- Essentials oils have been used for hundreds of years to prevent and heal all types of illness and disease including cancers.
Listed below are studies showing cancer cause and prevention in our lifestyles. There are hundreds more proving the same point, foods and chemicals cause cancers and foods can prevent and heal cancers.
- Although plant-based diets including vegetarian and vegan diets are generally considered to be cancer protective, surprisingly very few studies have directly addressed this question. However, a broad body of evidence links specific plant foods such as fruits and vegetables, plant constituents such as fiber, anti-oxidants and other phytochemicals, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight to reduced risk of cancer diagnosis and recurrence.10,13 And, research links meat, especially red and processed meats, consumption to increased risk of several types of cancer.2,10,22 Vegetarian and vegan diets increase beneficial plant foods and plant constituents,16,20,21,30–32 eliminate the intake of red and processed meat by definition, and aid in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.28 The few reports that have addressed whether vegetarian diets can be used for management or prevention of recurrence of cancer are positive. 41,42,45,46 The direct and indirect evidence taken together suggests that vegetarian diets are a useful strategy for cancer prevention.
- It has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk. Intake of flax seed, especially its lignan fraction, and abundant portions of fruits and vegetables will lower cancer risk. Allium and cruciferous vegetables are especially beneficial, with broccoli sprouts being the densest source of sulforophane. Protective elements in a cancer prevention diet include selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin). Ascorbic acid has limited benefits orally, but could be very beneficial intravenously. Supplementary use of oral digestive enzymes and probiotics also has merit as anticancer dietary measures. When a diet is compiled according to the guidelines here it is likely that there would be at least a 60–70 percent decrease in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers, and even a 40–50 percent decrease in lung cancer, along with similar reductions in cancers at other sites. Such a diet would be conducive to preventing cancer and would favor recovery from cancer as well.
- The Report reviewed the relationship between food, nutrition, physical activity, body fatness and 17 cancer sites. The goal of the Report was to review all the relevant research, using precise and reproducible methodologies. An expert panel reviewed the evidence. Based upon evidence that was graded “convincing” or “probable”, a series of 10 recommendations to reduce the risk of developing cancer was produced. One of the most important factors is maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, which can be achieved by regular physical activity and limiting consumption of energy-dense foods and sugary drinks. Other important dietary measures include consuming a diet high in plant-based foods, limiting intakes of red meat, and avoiding salty foods and processed meat. Alcohol should be consumed in modest amounts, if at all. Dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention.
- A large number of epidemiologic, animal, and laboratory studies indicate that abundant consumption of food of plant origin reduces the risk of several types of cancer. The chemopreventive effect is related to the high content in these foods of phytochemicals with potent anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties block precancerous cells from developing into malignant cells by interfering directly with tumour cells and by preventing generation of an inflammatory microenvironment that would sustain the progression of the tumours. In many cases, these anticancer phytochemicals interfere with tumour promotion and progression by mechanisms identical to those through which synthetic molecularly targeted chemotherapeutic agents exert their activity
- Overweight/obesity increases the risk for cancers of the oesophagus (adenocarcinoma), colorectum, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium and kidney; body weight should be maintained in the body mass index range of 18.5-25 kg/m(2), and weight gain in adulthood avoided. Alcohol causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus and liver, and a small increase in the risk for breast cancer; if consumed, alcohol intake should not exceed 2 units/d. Aflatoxin in foods causes liver cancer, although its importance in the absence of hepatitis virus infections is not clear; exposure to aflatoxin in foods should be minimised. Chinese-style salted fish increases the risk for nasopharyngeal cancer, particularly if eaten during childhood, and should be eaten only in moderation. Fruits and vegetables probably reduce the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach and colorectum, and diets should include at least 400 g/d of total fruits and vegetables. Preserved meat and red meat probably increase the risk for colorectal cancer; if eaten, consumption of these foods should be moderate. Salt preserved foods and high salt intake probably increase the risk for stomach cancer; overall consumption of salt preserved foods and salt should be moderate. Very hot drinks and foods probably increase the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and oesophagus; drinks and foods should not be consumed when they are scalding hot. Physical activity, the main determinant of energy expenditure, reduces the risk for colorectal cancer and probably reduces the risk for breast cancer; regular physical activity should be taken.
- We observed the following significant associations: gastric cancer risk was inversely associated with high plasma vitamin C, some carotenoids, retinol and α-tocopherol, high intake of cereal fibre and high adhesion to Mediterranean diet, while red and processed meat were associated with increased risk. High intake of dietary fibre, fish, calcium, and plasma vitamin D were associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, while red and processed meat intake, alcohol intake, body mass index (BMI) and abdominal obesity were associated with an increased risk. High intake of fruit and vegetables in current smokers were associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer. An increased risk of breast cancer was associated with high saturated fat intake and alcohol intake. In postmenopausal women, BMI was positively and physical activity negatively associated with breast cancer risk. High intake of dairy protein and calcium from dairy products and high serum concentration of IGF-I were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. These results contribute to scientific evidence for appropriate public health strategies and prevention activities aimed at reducing the global cancer burden.
- Mounting evidence suggests that cancers are not an inevitable consequence of aging but are preventable diseases. The evidence in this chapter suggests that spices may be factors in one’s diet that may lower cancer risk and affect tumor behavior. Spices have been consumed for centuries for a variety of purposes, such as flavoring agents, colorants, and preservatives. This chapter only scratches the surface of the overall impact of herbs and spices since there are approximately 180 spices commonly being used for culinary purposes. Without question, evidence exists that multiple processes, including proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and immunocompetence, can be influenced by one or more spices.
- Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels in dyes.2 The FDA calculated in 1985 that ingestion of free benzidine raises the cancer risk to just under the “concern” threshold (1 cancer in 1 million people).6 Bound benzidene also has been detected in dyes in much greater amounts than free benzidene,7,8 but routine FDA tests measure only free contaminants, overlooking the bound moiety.2 Intestinal enzymes release bound benzidene, “so we could be exposed to vastly greater amounts of carcinogens than FDA’s routine tests indicate,” says Jacobson—especially considering today’s children are exposed to multiple dyes and flavoring agents and other added chemicals in foods.9
My next article will focus on special foods, herbs, spices and oils that have proven cancer prevention and killing ability.
To A Long and Healthy Life!
Wally Bishop C.N.C I.N.H.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
The contents of the email or written communication are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.