Cancer ‘The C word”, it’s incidence is increasing by leaps and bounds and in-spite of lot of scientific breakthroughs in treating cancer we are still constantly losing a lot of precious lives because of it. The root causes of cancer are complex and multifactorial, with possible causes including: poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins, genetics, viruses or infections, high stress levels, poor digestion and nutrient absorption, and lack of physical activity. A lot of factors are responsible for causing cancer but I think my own prescription of health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through grass. In other word which means staying away from tobacco and alcohol and watching what goes down south through your mouth. Experts say that we can prevent 1 in 10 cancers by just eating right. The doctors of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs but rather will cure and prevent diseases with nutrition.
The link between diet and cancer is complex and difficult to unravel. Inflammation is the underlying issue that dictates cancerous tumor initiation, progression and growth. Studies suggest that 30 to 40 percent of all kinds of cancer can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and dietary measures! And other sources claim that this number is in fact much higher, with around 75 percent of cancer cases being lifestyle-related to free radical damage or oxidative stress. This is because our diet is made up of lots of different foods and nutrients. Many of these could affect our risk of cancer.Some foods, such as red and processed meats and salt, increase the risk of developing cancer. While others, such as fruits, vegetables and high fibre foods, can help prevent the disease.
While most people choose to turn to conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation or other drugs, there’s also mounting evidence that cancer risk can be dramatically reduced by following a healthy diet filled with anti-inflammatory foods and controlling other factors that kick off heightened oxidative stress, also called an “immune cascade.” True healthcare reforms start in your kitchen, not in Washington. So just watch out the list below to know the best foods to avoid cancer.
1. Love your leafy greens- Leafy greens are the cornerstone of any healthy diet since they’re exceptionally rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes, yet very low in calories, fats, sodium and other toxins. Leafy greens of all kinds — nutritious spinach, kale, collard greens, are rich in antioxidants known to combat cancer, including vitamin C and beta-carotene (a type of vitamin A).
As natural sources of glucosinolates, these powerhouse chemicals are known to break down into indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates which help to detoxify body at the cellular level.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables- morning noon and night!
Sneak them in or drink them through!!
Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, kale) are known to be powerful cancer killers and some of the best vitamin C foods widely available. Many are rich in glutathione, known as the body’s “master antioxidant” since it has high free-radical-scavenging abilities. They contain isothiocyanates, sulforaphanes and indoles very strong antioxidants and also target cancer stem cells—those that aid in tumor growth.
Helps fight: breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach, and bladder cancers
3. Brightly Orange-Coloured Fruits and Veggies
(Citrus Fruits, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, etc.)
Brightly coloured pigments (Carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin) found in plant foods are a sure sign that they’re beaming with phytochemicals. This is exactly the reason you want to “eat the rainbow” and vary the colours of the foods on your plate. In addition studies show that complex carbs, including sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, other tubers and whole-grain foods, is related to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, particularly of the upper digestive tract. This is likely due to a favourable role of fiber, but the issue is still open to discussion. In contrast, refined grain intake and high glycemic load foods (as sugar, flour, rice, white potatoes) are associated with increased risk of different types of cancer, including breast and colorectal.
4.Berries- All berries as Blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, goji berries, camucamu and blackberries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. They supply vitamin C, vitamin A and gallic acid, a powerful antifungal/antiviral agent that increases immunity.But black raspberries, in particular, contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which slow down the growth of premalignant cells and keep new blood vessels from forming (and potentially feeding a cancerous tumor),
Helps fight: colon, esophageal, oral, and skin cancers
5.Tomatoes- This juicy fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue, lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth.
Helps fight: endometrial, lung, prostate, and stomach cancers
6.Walnuts- Walnuts, their phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells' growth.
Helps fight: breast and prostate cancers
7.Garlic- Phytochemicals in garlic have been found to halt the formation of nitrosamines, carcinogens formed in the stomach (and in the intestines, in certain conditions). Ingredients in the pungent bulbs may keep cancer-causing substances in your body from working, or they may keep cancer cells from multiplying. A clove a day may be helpful.
Helps fight: breast, colon, esophageal, and stomach cancers
8. Traditional Teas- The consumption of green tea can help decrease cancer risk. Green tea contains major polyphenolic compounds, including epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which has been shown to inhibit tumor invasion and angiogenesis, which are essential for tumor growth and metastasis. Matcha green tea contains the highest percetange of polyphenolic compounds, catechin, gallocatechin and EGCG. The antioxidant EGCG, its anticancer effects have activity about 25–100 times more effective than that of vitamins C and E.
9.Turmeric- It contains the active ingredient curcumin, and has been shown to decrease tumor size and fight colon and breast cancer. Along with easy-to-use black pepper, turmeric absorption is enhanced and better able to fight inflammation. Aim for one teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper or more daily, which can easily be used in a tonic drink, with eggs or in a veggie stir fry. Additionally, other herbs that act as immune system boosters include ginger, raw garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil and parsley — which can easily be used in many recipes, juices, dressings and smoothies.
10. Nuts and Seeds- Ch-a-a-a-a-clit- Chia seeds and flaxseeds are two of the most nutrient-dense seeds in the world. They provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a range of important minerals. Hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also beneficial and full of healthy fatty acids, as are walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds. Aim for two tablespoons daily.
11. Healthy Unrefined Oils (Coconut, Flax, Cod Liver and Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Replace refined vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils and trans fats with quality oils, including flax oil, extra virgin olive oil, cod oil and coconut oil. These nourish your gut and promote better immune function, help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, plus flaxseed and cod liver oil contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that can help energize your cells.
12. Cultured Dairy Products - These are a rich source of “good bacteria” probiotics, which can stop tumor growth and help cells renew. Aim for six ounces of cultured dairy daily (probiotic yogurt, cottage cheese, goat milk). Cottage cheese, which is rich in sulphur protein and saturated fats, was found to be especially beneficial as part of the Budwig diet for cancer protocol.
So just remember the best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system. You are what you eat from your head down to your feet. A good wife and health are a man’s best wealth. So just take care of your body and it will take care of you.
Dr. Indu Bansal
Sr. Consultant- Radiation Oncology
MBBS, MD (Radiotherapy)