The Anti-Cancer Diet
When Cancer is already manifest, perhaps one of the best programs of treatment that may lead to success is a concerted attempt at supporting the body’s own efforts to heal itself, boosting the immune system, and restoring health naturally.
A RAINBOW OF PROTECTIVE FOODS
Whenever possible an anti-cancer diet should consist almost exclusively of bio-dynamically (organically) grown foods, which are free from pesticides, insecticides, synthetic chemicals, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, and other toxins.
An emphasis should be placed on raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, onions, cabbage-family vegetables, ginger, garlic, carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, seaweed, kelp, legumes, and sprouted seeds. Some cooked foods are fine, such as soybeans, millet, buckwheat, dried beans, and brown rice.
Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit COX-2, an inflammation-stimulating chemical that may promote cancer by increasing production of free radicals—unstable environmental electrons that damage DNA. Most studies show that cold water fish (free of heavy metals) keep cancer cells from proliferating. Cancer patients should try to consume more quality fats such as cold-pressed vegetable oils (sunflower seed, flax seed, soy bean, walnut, and safflower oils). Oils should never be heated. According to Johannes Kuhl, originator of the lactic-acid fermentation diet for cancer, naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, pickled vegetables, and fermented juices and grains have great potency in fighting cancer growth.
Consume a generous amount of fresh fruits, all types of berries, potatoes, leafy green and yellow vegetables, sprouted seeds, tomatoes, and nuts (except peanuts, which may have yellow fungus). Broccoli sprouts help the body detoxify carcinogens, reducing the risk of developing cancer.
Juice fasting can cleanse and detoxify the whole body of accumulated toxins. This practice may bring strength and increased metabolism to weakened organs that are broken down because of carcinogenic factors. The best juicing foods are red beets, carrots, leafy green vegetables, grapes, lemons, and all dark-colored juices. Juice fast for 2-6 days, but only as long as your body can tolerate it.
Medicinal mushrooms are unique organisms that have been sought for medicine and food since ancient times. Mushrooms are polysaccharides (long-chain sugar molecules) that stimulate immunity. Mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey tails, and Reshi are used in Asia to help enhance cancer treatment and reduce the side effects of chemo and radiation therapy.
PLENTY OF CLEAN FILTERED WATER
The body is in constant need of water. Dehydration (even when it is not noticed) is a continual problem. Drink 8-10 glasses of filtered water each day. It will help flush toxins out of the liver, improve digestion and elimination, and hydrate all the healthy cells in the body.
AVOID OR ELIMINATE
SATURATED, CHOLESTEROL-RICH ANIMAL FATS
These foods have high amounts of carcinogens and saturated fats. They promote tumor growth and decrease the body’s immune system. Processed lunch meats, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, and most fish that are farm-raised have high concentrations of steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics. [The European Union will not import American beef because the amount of hormones is above their stricter standards.]
REFINED (SUGAR) CARBOHYDRATES
Eliminate as much processed, high-sugar, high-acidic foods as possible. Soft drinks (regular or diet colas) are the most acidic product you can ingest. These soft drinks and many other foods contain phosphoric acid as a preservative that is dangerously acidic to the body. High acidity is a perfect environment for cancer cells to proliferate. Alcohol is the second most acidic product and should be avoided. Refined sugar is also believed to feed cancer cells and lower the immune system.
Avoid milk and milk products that in America are laced with antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids. Dairy is one of the most allergenic, inflammatory, and mucous-forming of foods.
VERY MODERATE INTAKE
The cancer patient should have a very moderate intake of caffeine, alcohol, condiments, sweetened juices, eggs, wheat gluten, sulfites, and artificial coloring.
RANCID OR STALE FOODS
Nearly all rancid foods contain carcinogenic substances. Rancid oils and food, under some conditions, have a carcinogenic effect. Be careful of products labeled as “cold processed.” Fish oil (in capsules) can easily become rancid, as can rotten vegetables and fruits, and raw meats.
PROTEIN IN DIETS
Although protein intake is essential for the human body, most vegetable proteins (soybeans, almonds, buckwheat, grains, and green vegetables) are incomplete and not bioavailable. They are less easily digested and utilized by the body. It is a sad truth that most meat, poultry, eggs and milk produced in the United States is laced with estrogenic hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. The increased risks of estrogen in the human body (remember the Prempro scare from 2001?) is pervasive in our food supply. That is why eating organic meat, milk, and eggs, or free-range poultry are always healthier choices.
CANCER’S SWEET AND ACIDIC NATURE
It seems puzzling why a simple concept like “sugar feeds cancer” can be so dramatically overlooked by the medical profession. Of the millions of Americans who are undergoing cancer treatment at any one time, hardly anyone is offered scientifically-guided nutritional advice. Most cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or both go home on weekends with no nutritional advice, and may even end up at McDonald’s to “treat” themselves.
Although few health practitioners will dispute that the American medical profession does many things extremely well, such as surgery, diagnosis, and emergency medicine, they also do a few things quite poorly, including providing patients with nutritional information and preventing disease. Once you get cancer there is a bevy of doctors and hospitals ready to tell you how they treat the disease, but outside of obvious information such as “don’t smoke cigarettes,” there is little valuable information on how to prevent cancer from occurring in the first place. In Europe, where oncologists treat cancer as efficiently as their American counterparts, they have an inherent belief that “sugar feeds cancer.” For some reason, perhaps professional arrogance, American physicians balk at discussing the advantages of healthy nutrition concomitantly with cancer treatment.
I believe that many patients would have a major improvement in the outcome of their cancer if they controlled the intake of cancer’s main fuel: glucose (simple sugar and carbohydrates), and cancer’s main environment to proliferate and grow: acidic pH. If there are two things any cancer patient (or post-cancer patient) can do to help in a total cancer recovery program they are to:
- Control one’s glucose level through diet, exercise, supplements, stress-management, and prescription drugs when necessary.
- Change one’s diet to be more alkaline and less acidic in nature. This involves a substantial increase in the consumption of organic “green” foods, certain fruits, legumes, nuts, minerals, and lots of spring water. Eliminate the most “acidic” foods that you can put in the human body, including soda pop, alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates, fast foods, ice cream, and caffeine.
In 1931, Nobel laureate in medicine Dr. Otto Warburg from Germany first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism than healthy cells. The crux of his Nobel-winning thesis was that cancerous-malignant tumors seem to exhibit an increase in glycolysis—a process whereby sugar (glucose) is used as a fuel by cancer cells with lactic acid as a byproduct. A large amount of lactic acid produced by this fermentation of glucose from cancer cells is transported to the liver. This conversion creates a more acidic pH environment in the tissues which also causes more lactic acid buildup. The body becomes more fatigued in an acidic environment, muscles tighten, the adrenals stress, and inflammation ensues. Not only do tumors tend to exhibit a more acidic pH, they also are a product of the body’s inflammatory process.
So, cancer therapies should encompass an alkaline dietary environment and an attempt to regulate blood-glucose control via diet, supplements, and lifestyle. The GLYCEMIC INDEX is an effective measure of how a given food affects the body’s blood-glucose levels.
The Glycemic Index
Basically, all calories are not created equal and neither are all carbohydrates. The Glycemic Index (GI) was coined to describe the blood-sugar response following the ingestion of a standard amount of carbohydrates as measured against a standard test carbohydrate food. The higher the GI, the more insulin is released from the body’s pancreas, and the higher the risk for weight gain and diabetes with its complications. These higher insulin levels result in weight gain by preferentially directing the body to store glucose (sugar) as fat and inhibit fat breakdown for energy. Thus, the type of carbohydrate eaten is more important than the percent of carbohydrates eaten.
HIGH GI FOODS
Table sugar, carbonated soft drinks (including diet drinks), bagels, bananas, white flour, white bread, potatoes (French fries, baked, skinned), coffee and tea, sugary cereals, cakes, crackers, Gatorade, corn chips, cantaloupe, pineapple, tacos, shortbread, ice cream, popcorn, pretzels, hot chocolate, donuts, pancakes, raisins.
LOW GI FOODS
Peaches and pears, plums, most beans, peanuts, apples, barley, apricots, cherries, grapefruits, tomato juice, carrots, peas, lentils, and strawberries.
Airola, P. The Anti-Cancer Diet. Alive #186, pp. 17-20.
Broccoli Averts Liver Cancer. HSR Health Supplement Retailer, January 2006. 12(1): 11.
Hobbs, C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Lectures Notes from American Herbalists Guild 15th Annual Symposium, Waterville, NH, Oct 8-10, 2004.
James, L. Cancer Outlook. Energy Times, May 2002. Pp 22-26.
Marion, JB .Anti- Aging Manual. Information Pioneers, S. Woodstock, CT. 1996.
Morris, S. Lecture Notes. Mukilteo Natural Health Clinic, Mukilteo, WA.
Quillin, P. Cancer’s Sweet Tooth. Nutrition Science News. April 2000. 5(4); 164-169.
Stansbury, JE. Cancer Prevention Diet. Nutrition Science News, August 1999. 4(8); 379-386.
Up Next: Alopecia (Hair Loss)