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Fighting cancer with food

MagazineMarch 2010 (Vol. 20 Issue 12)Fighting cancer with food

Up to one in three of us will develop cancer at some time in our life

Up to one in three of us will develop cancer at some time in our life. However, we can protect ourselves against the disease by improving
our natural immune defences, and making the right nutritional and lifestyle choices.

Anticancer foods
- Green tea is chockful of the antioxidants and anticancer polyphenols that impede the growth of new blood vessels that tumours need in order to grow and spread (http://ezinearticles.com/ ?Cancer-Fighting-Diet---Green-Tea&id =521349).
- Dark chocolate (with a cacao content of at least 70 per cent) also contains antioxidants and polyphenols-one small square contains the equivalent of a cup of green tea-both of which can retard the growth of cancer cells (http://ezinearticles.com/?Dark-Chocolate-Health-Benefits-For-Everyone&id=2422699>).
- Mushrooms (crimini, enoki, hen-of-the-woods, maitake, oyster, portobello, shiitake and turkey-tail) stimulate the activity and replication of immune cells (WDDTY vol 11 no 7, pages 6-7).
- The Alliaceae family (including chive, garlic, leek, onion and shallot) promotes apoptosis (or programmed cell death) in cancers of the breast, colon, lung and prostate (Cytotechnology, 2008; 56: 179-85).
- Ginger root, which can be grated into a stir-fry, sliced or made into an infusion, is a powerful anti-cancer agent that prevents cancer cell proliferation (Anti-cancer Res, 1997; 17: 873-8; Cancer Res, 1996; 56: 1023-30).
- Astragalus membranaceus, a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, has proven success against viral infections and cancer (Chin Med J, 1990; 103: 304-7). Its close relative milkvetch (Astragalus oxyphysus) has also shown promising anticancer activity, as well as antimetastatic effects against melanoma-at least in mouse studies, so it may not apply to humans (Cancer Res, 1988; 48: 1410-5). However, it did slow the growth of human melanoma cells grafted onto mice (Cancer Res, 1990; 50: 1867-72).
As this plant has relatives that are toxic to humans, only take supplements made by reputable manufacturers such as TA Sci-ences, Terraternal or RevGenet-ics, companies that refer to these products as 'telomerase activator supplements'.
- Turmeric, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice, can significantly promote apoptosis in cancer cells and impede tumour growth (Clin Cancer Res, 2008; 14: 4491-9). To make it more easily taken up by the body, mix
it with black pepper and either olive or pumpkinseed oil.
- Lycopene-containing fruit & veg (apricot, beetroot, butternut and other squashes, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, tomato, water-melon and all coloured, non-green vegetables) are rich in carotenoids (such as lycopene) and vitamin A. They are proven to retard, or even halt, the growth
of aggressive cancers (prostate, lung, colorectal, pancreatic, oesophageal, cervical, breast and stomach) (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1999; 91: 317-31; J Nutr, 2005; 135: 2037S-9S).
- Cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, bok-choy, radish, broccoli, brussels' sprouts, kale, swede and water-cress) have potent anticancer constituents. To retain their potency, only briefly steam or stir-fry them (Lancet, 2005; 366: 1558-60).
- Citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine and ugli fruit/tangelo) contain flavonoids and stimulate the detoxification of carcinogens from the liver (Carcinogenesis, 1998; 19: 425-31).
- Herbs and spices (particularly basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme) contain oils of the terpene family that block the enzymes that cancer cells need to invade adjacent tissue, thereby slowing the spread of cancer-albeit so far only in animal models (J Nutr, 2001; 131: 3027S-33S).

Harald Gaier
Harald Gaier, a registered naturopath, osteopath, homeopath and herbalist, practises at The Allergy and Nutrition Clinic, 22 Harley Street, London, and the Irish Centre of Integrated Medicine, Co. Kildare (www.drgaier.com).

Tips for a cancer-preventing lifestyle

- Heat food in glass or ceramic containers, not in plastics such as PVC, styrofoam or polystyrene
- Use lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda for domestic cleaning jobs; never use cleaning products that contain alkylphenols such as long-chain alkylphenol (LCAP), cresol or xylenol
- Use lavender and cedar bark in wardrobes to freshen and to deter moths, not naphthalene or tar camphor
- Avoid perfumes and haircare products that contain phthalates (which nearly all of them do)
- Never use Teflon-coated pans and irons, but use stainless steel instead
- Eat organic meat from grassfed animals and organic dairy products
- Instead of the standard Western diet, switch to Mediterranean or Oriental foods and cooking techniques
- Use olive oil, and natural sugar replacements such as xylitol crystals or agave syrup.

Vol. 20 04 July 2009


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